Care management and assessment from an anti-racist perspective

The literature on care management to date presents a very confused picture in terms of service users in general, and moreover pays very little attention to the policy and practice issues emerging in relation to Black and Minority Ethnic service users.

A study of care management in three local authorities by Nasa Begum, Race Equality Unit, Personal Social Services, revealed that:

  • A constant tension policy-makers and practitioners grappled with was whether Black and Minority Ethnic users should have specific services developed, or whether mainstream services could accommodate their needs.
  • Greater attention was paid to the needs of Black and Minority Ethnic elders or mental health service users, but very little work was undertaken in terms of Black and Minority Ethnic people with physical or sensory impairments, and people with learning difficulties.
  • When social services actively encouraged their staff to work with local community groups to obtain referrals and undertake assessments, there tended to be a greater proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic users.
  • Where community groups existed, they played a key role in referring people to statutory agencies and sometimes working with care managers to do assessments.
  • As interpreters and advocates were in short supply, family members or a local community group were often the only source of support.
  • The complexity of the care package often determined whether or not authorities were able to respond to Black and Minority Ethnic people’s needs.
  • Some care managers had used spot purchasing to put together an individualised package of care to meet the specific needs of a Black and Minority Ethnic user, thereby creating some new opportunities in the care management process.