This essay will discourse what is meant by the term “ Poverty ” , how it affects persons and the wider community every bit good explicating why it is of import for Social Workers to hold a clear apprehension of these issues. By looking at the administrations in topographic point in the UK, in countries such as instruction and wellness and societal attention constitutions ; this essay will show how the constructions of these administrations both aid and impede Social Workers in their function and how it affects the workings of day-to-day pattern.
The UK has the oldest and biggest National Health Services in the universe, so this essay will besides travel on to compare the proviso in this state with that in the USA. As a first universe state, the USA has an economic system and civilization non immensely different from that in the UK, which makes for some interesting comparings of the attention they both provide. Both the UK and the USA spend the same proportion of their one-year budget on societal services and instruction and hold a similar rate of poorness.
Poverty is a common term which many people would specify as merely being a deficiency of fiscal resources. This is a really constricted position which makes it hard to find how many people live in poorness because the definition is obscure and subjective. To understand and mensurate poorness and its impact upon persons and the community, it is of import to specify it further.
Alternatively of one chief definition for poorness, sociologists have agreed there are two chief types ; absolute and comparative poorness, as described by Giddens ( 2009 ) . Absolute poorness is used to depict the inability to supply the basic human needs ; nutrient, adjustment and vesture, on a budget of around $ 1 US dollar per twenty-four hours. The thought of absolute poorness is a planetary one which can be applied irrespective of state or civilization and applies every bit to people of similar ages and abilities. Harmonizing to a recent survey by UNDP ( 2010 ) , every bit many as a tierce of the universe ‘s population live in absolute poorness.
Due to the modern public assistance province and benefit system in topographic point in the UK today, no 1 is expected to last on $ 1 per twenty-four hours. However, figures provided by The Poverty Site ( 2010 ) show that about 9 % of the population in the UK have an income which equates to merely 40 % of the national average income. This has risen about 7 % in merely over 20 old ages and suggests that poorness is on the addition in the UK. These statistics would besides propose that people populating in the UK are affected by comparative poorness as opposed to absolute poorness.
Relative poorness compares the income of persons to the national or local norm, and where it falls below 40-60 % of that norm, the person is said to be populating in comparative poorness. There is still some argument about where the per centum rate should fall but many agree it should be 60 % of the national average income ( Giddens, 2010 ) . This is referred to as the poorness line ; those below this line live in comparative poorness.
Certain groups of people are more likely to happen themselves populating in poorness, these include ; kids, adult females ( peculiarly individual female parents ) , people with disablements, cultural minorities and the aged. Cunningham & A ; Cunningham ( 2009 ) , Giddens, ( 2010 ) and Llewellyn, et Al ( 2008 ) all agree the ground these groups are more likely to endure from poorness than other groups is a direct consequence of societal exclusion.
Social exclusion is a term which grew in popularity in 1997 when New Labour was re-elected into authorities. Part of the pre-election run of New Labour was to undertake the root causes of the issues impacting those who were marginalised by chief watercourse society ( The Poverty Site, 2010 ) . Peoples, who for grounds including ; age, race, gender and category are frequently denied entree to service and chances doing it easier to except them from society. This was apparent when the BBC undertook a study, and found that when sing occupation campaigners, whose makings and experience were about indistinguishable ; those with a name traditionally given to people from colored backgrounds were far less likely to be called to interview, turn outing that racism is still present in the workplace, ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham 2009 ) .
To undertake some of the inequalities present in mainstream society, New Labour introduced a figure of enterprises and policy alterations to better the criterion of life, these included ;
The debut of Tax Credits for households and persons on low incomes,
Every Child Matters – a 5 point model to better the quality of life for all kids,
Connections – an easy accessible advice point on a scope of subjects for immature grownups ages 13 – 19yrs,
SureStart – aimed at giving babes and immature babies the best start in life by supplying advice, bead in Centres and kid attention for their parents.
Peoples who face societal exclusion frequently live in the same vicinity ; council house estates for illustration, which tend to hold a higher proportion of individual parents and high rates of unemployment. These groups of people are often given negative labels, which over clip can go self-fulfilling. For illustration, a immature kid turning up in a individual parent household on an council estate as indicated above is more likely to be viewed negatively and given such labels as ; ‘trouble ‘ , ‘lazy ‘ , ‘good for nil ‘ , which over clip can hold a damaging effects upon the kid who will get down to see themselves as the labels placed upon them ( Llewellyn et al, 2008 ) . This negativeness can take to an addition in hooky, which in bend will take to a hapless instruction and employment chances, therefore puting up a life in poorness ( Mail Online, 2007 ) .
Harmonizing to Bebbington and Miles ( 1989 ) , kids from an impoverished background are 700 times more likely to be involved with societal services than kids from a affluent background. This statistic alone shows how critical it is for societal workers to hold a strong apprehension of the impact and experiences populating in poorness can hold. It is argued by Cunningham and Cunningham ( 2009 ) that many professionals in the societal work field feel overwhelmed by the structural inequalities faced when undertaking poorness, this tends to intend that poorness is dealt with on an single instance footing. Changes in policy, both at national and at local degree can hold an impact on poorness by the manner services are implemented and delivered. As societal workers are present at both the point of service and within the administrations where policies are made, it puts them in a premier place to impact alteration.
Understanding and recognizing the factors that cause and keep poverty portion of modern society will let a societal worker to understand how they can disrupt the poorness rhythm promoting positive alteration.
Puting some of the duty for poorness on society and within the structural inequalities that exist, can sometimes be viewed as taking duty off from the person and the picks they have made, doing them less accountable. A societal worker should ever keep a positive and optimistic mentality and believe that despite the inequalities that exist, alteration is still possible regardless of the state of affairs. It is of import to understand how the instruction system and wellness and societal attention administrations are set up in the UK to recognize how this can impact the entree to care.
Duty for instruction in the UK has become a devolved affair for each single state and overseen by their ain authorities. The Department of Education and The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills predominately oversee the instruction system in England, with engagement from Local Authorities. Since 2005/2006, Local Authorities are given a grant which is pealing fenced for the intent of instruction and with audience from all schools under the Local Authorities control, the finance is distributed, ( Department for Education, 2010 ) . There are about 20,000 public schools in the UK ; a turning figure of these are faith schools, about 7000 at nowadays.
In add-on to these province schools, there are a turning figure of independent schools, about 2600 ; responsible for the instruction of 7 % of the population, ( Independent Schools Council, 2010 ) . There schools are funded chiefly through tuition fees and in some religion schools, contributions from the associated church. A big proportion of these schools are faith schools who do non take kids outside the designated religion of the school within their catchment country.
Historically, wellness and societal attention has been provided by the private and voluntary sector. Until the debut of the Poor Law Act 1930, the bulk of attention for those in demand was provided by charities and the work houses. Peoples who lived in poorness had to trust on hand-outs, if they were deemed worthy of charity, or would hold to pay at the point of service. Often it was those most in demand of the service that were unable to pay coercing them to travel without. The Poor Law Act 1930 moved the duty of attention from these sectors to the Local Authorities, who began to take over the work houses and Poor Law infirmaries ( Spicker, 2010 ) .
The National Health Service was established in 1948 with the political orientation that everyone should be entitled to the same degree of wellness and societal services which were free at the point of service. Today ‘s modern National Health Service is overseen by the Department of Health. The state is split into 10 Strategic Health Authorities who control the attention provided by the trusts in its country. Care is split into two chief countries, Primary and Secondary attention. Primary attention services include ; GP ‘s, Opticians, Dentists and NHS Direct. Secondary attention is acute wellness attention and usually merely accessed in exigency or utmost state of affairss and includes ; The Ambulance Trust, Emergency and Urgent Care Units, Mental Health, Care and NHS Trusts. ( NHS, 2010 ) .
The National Assistance Act 1948 called for Local Authorities to put up Health and Welfare comities, supplying the first signifier of residential attention. In 1970, The Local Authority and Social Services Act of the same twelvemonth created the first Social Services sections including ; kids ‘s, public assistance and mental wellness. ( The National Archives, 2010 ) .
The National Health Service remained mostly unchanged until 1990 when the first major reforms took topographic point. With the general population life longer, the cost of supplying attention was increasing and going unviable. The administration of the National Health Service had besides become unproductive and dogged to those it was meant to assist. Bureaucracy and ruddy tape became the norm when seeking to entree any services or intervention.
The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 was the first measure in the reforms to the wellness and societal services sections. The debut of the Purchaser/Provider split meant for the first clip since the constitution of the National Health Service, authorities sections were no longer responsible for the proviso of all services ( Kirkpatrick et al, 1999 ) . The ground for this was threefold ; foremost, to decrease the fiscal duty of attention proviso, secondly, remotion of public proviso would let the private and voluntary sectors to turn and spread out, doing the attention market more competitory, and thirdly, to increase pick for service users. This act was besides the start for a figure of big attention places and establishments being closed and the attention provided in the community.
The rules behind these alterations were good intentioned ; leting people to be cared for within the community advancing independency and control over personal attention. However, in world what was offered were standard attention bundles and limited resources which did non present the true freedom of pick that was promised, ( Llewellyn et al, 2008 ) .
To supplement the attention provided for under the new system, many people have turned to charities to assist make full the spread left by the deficiency of fiscal aid. Supplying people with the fundss to pay for their ain attention, instead than supply the attention itself, has meant people are able to take how and by whom the attention is provided. Many people have chosen to pay friends and relations for the proviso of attention instead than trust on bureaus and aliens. For Social Workers, this gives an chance to believe outside the box when bring forthing attention programs with persons. In communities, people are now able to organize groups and commissions to turn to and undertake jobs and troubles to supply a seamster made solution. This non merely gives people control over their ain attention but besides encourages the community to take action and to assist itself.
Although the UK has the biggest National Health Service in the universe ( NHS, 2010 ) , the alteration in direct attention proviso and turning trust on the private and voluntary sectors is more in line with the wellness and societal attention services in the United States of America ( USA ) .
The USA has a minimalist National Health Service which provides the most basic of wellness attention ; caring for those on really low incomes and or in exigencies. Many people populating in poorness will be eligible for “ Medicaid ” which is a healthcare programme paying for the whole cost of attention, but poorness entirely is non an automatic eligibility standards. Many older people, 65yrs and over, are reliant on the “ Medicare ” system, which merely covers 80 % of the cost of attention, the staying 20 % must be funded by other agencies. Anyone who is outside the eligibility for these benefits must pay for private wellness attention insurance, unless it is provided for through employment, ( US Department of Health & A ; Human Services, 2010 ) .
Another benefit provided by the USA authorities is nutrient casts ; nevertheless this is being phased out and replaced by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which is a short term benefit aimed at acquiring households back on their pess, ( US Department of Health & A ; Human Services, 2010 ) .
The wellness and societal attention system in the USA is structured much the same as the UK, in that the authorities provides each province ( Local Authority ) with a budget to pass on attention. In add-on to this, states in the USA are allowed to put its ain revenue enhancement rates on things such as Income Tax, Gross saless Tax and House Tax. The proportion of money put back into attention differs between provinces, some supplying a higher degree of benefits than others.
The USA has a much higher dependence than the UK on voluntary administrations, viz. the church ; who provide attention and fiscal aid to those in their communities.
Comparing the UK and the USA, there seems to be a different attitude towards the proviso of attention. The UK system is geared up to assist forestall poorness and societal exclusion, whereas the USA system is designed to assist people acquire out of poorness but placed a bigger trust on the single assisting themselves. Both systems are going more reliant on the community, voluntary administrations and the private sector for the proviso of attention ; decreasing the fiscal load on the province in the face of an of all time aging population. Both states seem to be unified in the attitude that people should “ assist themselves out of poorness ” .
Although the function of the Social Worker will ever be required, there is a strong displacement in the function from the proviso of direct attention to one of attention co-ordination. To supply the best possible degree of attention for both persons and the community, Social Workers must keep a high degree of cognition of both statutory and non-statutory suppliers of attention and how best to entree them.
This essay has demonstrated that poorness is a planetary job which is maintained by the manner society plants by socially excepting people and maintaining them impoverished. It has besides shown how two similar states differ in their attack to care ; the UK authorities provides the bulk of attention with aid from charities and the private sector, whereas the USA authorities provides merely the most basic signifiers of aid which a strong trust on the church, charities and the public sector. Both states are in understanding that with an increasing older population, each authorities needs to make more to decrease their part to the proviso of attention. During this clip of alteration, Social Workers will necessitate to happen a manner of supplying the best possible attention for those in their charge.