Independent Futures

Creating User-Led Disability Services in a Disabling Society

Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer

Independent Futures

Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

232 pages | © 2006
Paper $37.95 ISBN: 9781861347183 Published April 2006 For sale in North and South America only
The number of disability related support services controlled and run by disabled people themselves has increased significantly in the UK and internationally over the past forty years. As a result, greater user involvement in service provision and delivery is a key priority for many western Governments. This book provides the first comprehensive review and analysis of these developments in the UK.Drawing on evidence from a range of sources, including material from the first national study of user-controlled services, this book provides a critical evaluation of the development and organisation of user-controlled services in the UK and identifies the principal forces - economic, political and cultural - that influence and inhibit their further development. It summarises and discusses the policy implications for the future development of services and includes an up-to-date and comprehensive literature and research review."Independent futures" is essential reading for academics and students on a range of courses including: health and social care; social work; allied health professions, such as nursing, occupational therapy and speech therapy; social policy; sociology; and psychology. It will also be of interest to practitioners and policy makers who need a reliable overview of current policy and critical analysis of key issues affecting future policy and practice.

List of figures and tables
Notes on the authors

1. Examining user-led services
Re-thinking disability
Citizens, consumers and users
User-led organisations
Doing disability research
A notice on terminology
Overview of the book
2. Traditional approaches: disability policy and the welfare state
Historical perspectives on disability policy
Disability and the welfare state: 1940s to 1970s
Moving to the community
Disability as a personal tragedy
Changing policy perspectives on disability since 1979
New Right
New Labour
3. Disability activism and the struggle for independent living
Towards a new disability politics
The Independent Living Movement
Disability activism in Britain
The social model of disability
Critiques of traditional community services
Building user-led services
4. Researching user-led organizations
Taking issue with ‘conventional’ disability research
Disability research with a social model perspective
Research gains
Social and material relations of research production
Methodology and methods
The Creating Independent Futures study
Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stage Four
5. User-led organizations: building an alternative approach
From user consultation to user-led services
The growth of user-led services
Applying the social model of disability
Accountability and user control
6. Service design and delivery: opportunities and constraints
Delivering services in support of independent living
Service patterns
Service monitoring or control?
Resources: economic, physical and human
Location and premises
Paid staff and volunteers
7. Service users’ views and experiences
Views on mainstream services
Promoting user-led services
Accessing user-led services
Use of services
Wants and aspirations
8. Politics and campaigning
Politics: the local viewpoint
Campaigning issues and activities
Direction action
Empowerment and consciousness raising
Don’t upset the applecart
9. Policy change or retrenchment?
Dependence, independence or inclusion?
Professional dominance and new styles of working
Same old services: SOS or something else?
10. Future directions
Key themes and issues
Independent living: beyond ‘social care’
Equal worth: right to life and childhood disability
Work and employment
Physical environment
Independent living in an inclusive society


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