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Unit information: Personal Welfare Services in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Personal Welfare Services
Unit code SPOL30053
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Cameron
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit focuses on the provision of personal social services and the political, social and economic values that underlie policies in this field. Key concepts considered include need, risk, care and dependency. Students will consider trends and developments in social care, including the development of the mixed economy of provision as well as the personalisation agenda, and the implications of these developments for different groups of service users. Key themes discussed in this unit include how services are financed; what role the private sector should play in the provision of social care and who should assess an individuals need for services. The unit aims to provide students with a critical appreciation of contemporary debates about how and why personal social care services are delivered in their current configuration.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to;

  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical and current policy trends in relation to personal welfare services
  • Critically appraise contemporary perspectives on dependency, need, risk and care.
  • Critically evaluate the operations of the mixed economy in personal welfare and the respective roles of providers from different sectors.
  • Describe and critically assess current issues in the policy, planning and delivery of services.

Teaching details

The unit is taught by a series of 10 lectures, followed each week by a class. The classes involve a mixture of student presentations and small group exercises.

Assessment Details

Formative: a one hour 'practice exam' to assess and support the students' preparations for the summative assessment.

Summative (100%): a three hour exam which will enable the students to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit.

All assessment is marked against the published marking criteria for that level, as stated in the Social Policy Programme handbook.

Reading and References

  • Baldock, J. Mitton, L., Manning, N., and Vickerstaff , S. (2012) Social Policy 4th Edn Chaps. 13 and 14
  • Ferguson, I. (2007) Increasing User Choice or Privatising Risk? The Antinomies of Perzonalisation. British Journal of Social Work. 37:387-403
  • Lymbery, M., Postle, K. (2015) Social work and the transformation of adult social care: perpetuating a distorted vision? Bristol, Policy Press
  • Means, R., Richards, S., Smith, R. (2008) Community care: policy and practice. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Needham, C. (2011) Personalising Public Services: understanding the personalization narrative. Bristol, Policy Press
  • Needham, C., Glasby, J. (2015) Debates in personalisation. Bristol, Policy Press.