A consumer’s guide to local government by Martin Minogue (eds.)

By Martin Minogue (eds.)

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Or are residents elsewhere too weIl cared for? The causes of variations in need are complicated, but if your authority has fairly high ratios of children and elderly people and if incomes are low, then it should be spending wen above average on its personal social services. This is 27 particularly the case in inner city areas where the most vulnerable people in our society tend to congregate. Incidentally, even ifyour authority is a non-metropolitan district council, it can still spend limited sums on personal social services.

How many hornes for the elderly are like the one in Norwich, where residents have a choice of when to get up and go to bed, whether to order a cooked breakfast or prepare toast and cereals for themselves, are free to call in their own doctor, look after their own medication, can have newspapers delivered to the door of their own bed sitting room in which they can have TV or make a cup of tea, and entertain friends in the home's licensed bar? This horne is designed for small groups of residents to live elose to each other, as are hornes in 33 Cambridgeshire CC, Coventry MDC and Tameside MDC, which are working along the same lines.

Furthermore, the quality of the service actually offered cannot easily be measured ... The provider of personal social services, unlike the shopkeeper ... cannot offer a elearly described service to an agreed specification. ' Such comments must be seen in a context in which emergencies can overturn existing priorities, in which many are reluctant, if not unwilling, consumers of the services and where one of the conventional wisdoms is that people do not always ask for what they really want. Yet it is by no means impossible to see areas needing improvement.

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