Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Assessing the role of increasing choice in English social care services

Stevens, Martin, Glendinning, Caroline, Jacobs, Sally, Moran, Nicola, Challis, David, Manthorpe, Jill, Fernández, José-Luis ORCID: 0000-0002-4190-7341, Jones, Karen, Knapp, Martin ORCID: 0000-0003-1427-0215, Netten, Ann and Wilberforce, Mark (2011) Assessing the role of increasing choice in English social care services. Journal of Social Policy, 40 (2). pp. 257-274. ISSN 0047-2794

Full text not available from this repository.

Identification Number: 10.1017/S004727941000111X


This article aims to explore the concept of choice in public service policy in England, illustrated through findings of the Individual Budgets (IB) evaluation. The evaluation tested the impact of IBs as a mechanism to increase choice of access to and commissioning of social care services around the individual through a randomised trial and explored the experiences and perspectives of key groups through a large set of interviews. The article presents a re-examination of these interview data, using three ‘antagonisms of choice’ proposed in the literature – choice and power relations, choice and equity, and choice and the public nature of decisions – as organising themes. The randomised trial found that IB holders perceived they had more control over their lives and appreciated the extra choice over use of services, albeit with variations by user group. However, problems of power relations, equity and the constraints implied by the public nature of decision-making were complicating and limiting factors in producing the benefits envisaged. The focus on choice in policy, especially as implemented by IBs, emphasises an individualistic approach. The findings suggest that addressing broader issues relating to power, equity and an understanding of the public nature of choice will be of value in realising more of the benefits of the policy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Social Policy
Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2011 11:44
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 21:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item