Expenditure Planning in the Personal Social-Services - Unit Costs in the 1980s

Bebbington, Andrew and Kelly, Aidan (1995) Expenditure Planning in the Personal Social-Services - Unit Costs in the 1980s. Journal of Social Policy, 24 (3). pp. 385-411. ISSN 0047-2794. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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During the 1980s, unit cost inflation more than swallowed up all the increased spending on local authority social services, leaving a 10 per cent net reduction in service volumes. This increase can be only partly explained by increased labour prices and increased client needs resulting from the implementation of community care. Explanations in terms of quality and efficiency changes are explored in relation to individual services, and there appears to be a prima facie case that efficiency reduced during the 1980s. Variation between local authorities in the costs of apparently similar services rose during the 1980s. An analysis of these variations shows that those authorities which experienced the greatest rise in unit costs also had the greatest reduction in service volumes. Unit cost containment has been greatest where there was grant reduction and a declining local tax base, while volume declined most where there was rate-capping. The rising variation in unit costs has been responsible for the widening gap between standard spending assessments and what local authorities have wanted to spend on personal social services. If these increased variations reflect widening efficiency standards, then reversing this trend will require that social services department managements have both the motivation and capacity to implement unit cost monitoring and control.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: P. Ogbuji
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2009 15:07
Last Modified: 28 May 2014 08:39
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/19696 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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