Critical Enquiry at the Intersection of Politics, Policy and Society
Edited by Emma Carmel
Chapter 6: Understanding the complexity and implications of the English care policy system
In this chapter I apply governance analysis to understand a particularly complex and opaque policy area: the informal care of older people. It serves as an analytical framework to explore the design and operationalisation of the English care policy system, and its implications for the actors engaged in governance processes. These actors include frontline practitioners, managers, informal carers and the older people they care for, whose care relationships are placed at the heart of the analysis. The chapter identifies key characteristics of the system’s structural and procedural complexity across three policy domains – cash benefits, care services and employment support – and reveals how actors negotiate, navigate and mediate these institutional conditions. It shows how these interacting governing practices affect the availability and consistency of statutory protection that care relationships can access. As such, English care policy governance has significant implications for the social relations and wellbeing of all the actors involved.
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