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Personalising public services

Personalising public services: Understanding the personalisation narrative

Catherine Needham
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Personalising public services
    Book Description:

    Personalisation - the idea that public services should be tailored to the individual, with budgets devolved to the service user or frontline staff - is increasingly seen as the future of the welfare state. This book focuses on how personalisation evolved as a policy narrative and has mobilised such wide-ranging political support. It will be a valuable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students in public policy and social policy and for researchers and practitioners working in related fields.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-761-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: problematising personalisation
    (pp. 1-12)

    The language that policymakers use can be meaningful in many different ways. Language can be a tool through which to make clear the implications of a new policy, or a device to make those implications all the more opaque. The choice of one set of words over another set, or the replacement of accepted terms of reference for new vocabularies, can be indicative of important shifts in the policy terrain. There is a danger in assuming that words are in themselves equivalent to action. Yet it is also problematic to assume that language is just words, with no value to...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Interpreting policy narratives
    (pp. 13-28)

    Personalisation is a term that dominates discussions of public service reform in the UK: it is hard to find a policy area into which it has not yet reached. So far-reaching are its implications that it has been discussed in terms of a new state–citizen contract and a rewriting of the post-war Beveridge settlement (Duffy, 2008; ACEVO, 2009; Glasby et al, 2010). This policy reach makes the drive to understand its meaning and implications somewhat urgent. Yet how is it possible to study a term that is ubiquitous, but elusive? Personalisation is being implemented through a range of policy...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Personalised public services
    (pp. 29-46)

    The discussion so far has established the value of narrative approaches to policy analysis, and highlighted some of theprima facieambiguities of personalisation as a narrative of reform. Attention now turns to some of the reforms that have been undertaken in its name. Through identifying key policy commitments and common themes it is possible to draw out some of the distinctive elements of personalised approaches to public services. This chapter gives a sector-by-sector account of how personalisation has impacted on public services to date.

    There are at least two challenges to this type of overview. First, a snapshot of...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The personalisation narrative
    (pp. 47-64)

    The breadth of reforms described in Chapter 3 convey the extent to which personalisation has been established as a new orthodoxy in public services, influencing change across a range of sectors, albeit in different ways. A central puzzle to explain, therefore, is how personalisation came to hold such a dominant position. This chapter explores the ways in which argumentation is used within the personalisation narrative, as part of understanding how it has established such a pre-eminent role. It is an examination of the internal logics of the narrative, and the role of ideas in shaping policy change. The chapter focuses...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Policy translation: how personalisation spreads
    (pp. 65-86)

    The discussion in Chapter 4 highlighted the storylines that are embedded in the personalisation narrative, and explored the ways in which those stories were told through a combination of formal evidence, individual accounts of transformation and claims of self-evidence and common sense. It focused on the way in which the narrative built a compelling account of reform through shifting accounts of the past, present and future.

    This chapter examines how personalisation emerged as a narrative of change within social care, and spread into different contexts, establishing a strong hold on the imagination of policymakers. It is of course too simplistic...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Delivering person-centred services
    (pp. 87-110)

    Approaching personalisation as a narrative, the previous chapters have examined its origins, reach and potency. The remaining chapters consider the implications of personalisation, with a particular focus on front-line practice. Implementation studies are somewhat en vogue, after being out of fashion for some time (Hill and Hupe, 2002; Barrett, 2004; Schofield and Sausman, 2004; Gains and Clarke, 2007, pp 133–8). Although the duality between policy-making and implementation is rejected here, nonetheless there is a difference between policy as it is narrated within a national policy context and the experience of those charged with making it meaningful in a local...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Who is the person?
    (pp. 111-136)

    A central tenet of the personalisation story is that there is a self-evident legitimacy in focusing attention on the person and being responsive to their self-defined wants and needs. As one interviewee put it: “The nature of personalisation is only the person can decide whether the service is personalised.” Such a claim is consistent with broader and well-established principles of liberal citizenship, and resonates with powerful strands of thinking from the New Left and the New Right. It is wholly congruent with the consumer-oriented reform programmes espoused by all governments in the UK since 1979. To argue that the person...

  11. CHAPTER 8 The personal and the professional
    (pp. 137-156)

    A central theme of the personalisation narrative has been the need to construct a new relationship between service users and staff, resisting conventional norms of expertise and authority. This chapter considers the framing of staff in the personalisation narrative, and how alternative accounts have sought to contest the dominant readings of the professional role. It examines two key claims within the personalisation narrative and the tensions between them: first, that professional expertise must be challenged and the privileged status of professionals resisted to ensure that personalisation is not subverted; and, second, that personalisation requires close collaboration between front-line staff and...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Conclusion: personalised futures
    (pp. 157-172)

    Personalisation constitutes an intriguing topic for anyone interested in public policy: a new policy idea that has rapidly captured the interest of people across the political spectrum and looks likely to be the stimulus for major welfare state reform. This creates a research challenge to identify what is meant by personalisation and what its likely impacts will be. Personalisation does not seem to be coherent or wide-ranging enough to constitute an ideology or indeed a philosophy (despite sometimes being described in those terms), nor is it a broad buzzword in public policy like community and responsibility. It is not a...

  13. References
    (pp. 173-200)
  14. Index
    (pp. 201-209)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 210-210)