Service Providers, Standards and Quality of Service - Social Work

Service Providers

The last 30 years have been marked by radical changes in the system of rendering social services. Whereas previously in a number of European countries the predominant part of public services has traditionally been provided by public sector enterprises, now public organizations and private enterprises play an increasingly important role in providing almost all the services that the government provides for the population. In addition, the private sector provides a range of services that the government can not provide for certain reasons.

Along with these processes, the world community's attention to the problems of human rights protection was intensified, which entailed the development and implementation of a number of international legal standards aimed at ensuring the rights of the most vulnerable and discriminated social groups.

An additional incentive for the involvement of public and private sector providers in the provision of rehabilitation services has been the adoption of EU legislative provisions obliging the governments of EU member states to openly and competitively identify suppliers when purchasing goods and services. This step was the beginning of the formation of many new markets.

The mixed economic model of providing social services, uniting the efforts of the government, private enterprises and public organizations, develops and successfully operates already in a number of European countries, including in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Specific mechanisms for the functioning of this model vary considerably from country to country. However, for all states, factors are the existence of legislation (at the federal and regional level) that facilitates the development of such interaction, as well as regulatory legal support at the local level, through which the procedures for competitive selection of contractors in the provision of social services are regulated. Regional governments still provide part of the social services themselves. Provision of other services is carried out by placing orders on a competitive basis. Often, this function is entrusted to a specially created body within the government whose competence includes making decisions on the ordering of certain services, organizing contests, concluding contracts and monitoring the performance of services and their compliance with the needs and expectations of the population.

In the UK, legislation obliges local authorities to consult with suppliers, service consumers, their families and voluntary community organizations on planning and providing services.

Standards and Quality of Service

When moving to the services of people with disabilities at home, various approaches are used within the framework of the general population service system in different countries, the choice of which is determined by the specifics of local economic, socio-demographic, historical and cultural factors. Many countries, including Great Britain, have taken the path of developing and implementing minimum national standards that are mandatory for all providers of social services regardless of ownership and clearly define an acceptable level of quality. Standards should be supported by a set of mechanisms for monitoring compliance with them. The goal of standardization in the medical and social services sector is to ensure that the quality of the services actually delivered is in line with the established level. The degree of customer satisfaction is used as the main indicator of the performance of service providers. Compliance by the supplier with the requirements of the standards is a guarantee of achieving the required level of quality and efficiency of the services provided, and therefore, the satisfaction of the client's needs. The implementation of standards is often provided in legislation or through appropriate regulations and procedures for monitoring and overseeing the activities of suppliers. The design of standards and the accompanying regulatory and legal regulation is carried out in cooperation with the consumers themselves and all interested organizations. Consumers are also provided with ample opportunities to participate in the development of new services, their implementation and monitoring of their quality.

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