Reforming Human Services: The Experience of the Community Resource Boards in B.C.

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University of British Columbia Press, Jan 1, 1984 - Social Science - 321 pages

Reforming Human Services describes the fundamental changesthat occurred in applied social policy and in the actual delivery ofsocial and health services in British Columbia in the 1970's. Tosome observers these changes were the most ambitious in the world,given the brief time period in which they were undertaken.

The growth of the bureaucracy in social and health services had ledto a perceived lack of responsiveness to the community. Democratizingand integrating fragmented services were priorities of the NewDemocratic Party government elected in 1972, and the creation ofelected community resource boards was the first attempt to make thesystem more accessible.

The scope of the changes and the speed with which systems wererearranged by the Ministry of Human Resources generated considerablereaction from the public, the press, and the politicians as well as thestaff and clients of the affected services. This book not only givesthe background to the context in which these changes were made, butalso provides perspectives from all the other major actors.

The Ministry of Health was less committed to massive and immediatechange and chose to undertake "experiments" and "pilotprojects." The similarities and differences in the two processeshad major implications for how and in what form the changes in thesystems survived.

When the Social Credit party was re-elected in 1975, most of thecitizen participation component was dismantled, and direct governmentcontrol was re-asserted over the administration and delivery ofservices. Nevertheless, the authors' analyses of N.D.P. policiesand implementation strategies have implications far beyond theboundaries of British Columbia, and will be of interest to allconcerned with social policy from a political or practicalstandpoint.

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About the author (1984)

Michael Clague is the Executive Director of theCommunity Council of Greater Victoria. Robert Dill isCo-ordinator of the James Bay CHRCH. Roop Seebaran isan assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the Universityof British Columbia. Brian Wharf is Dean of theFaculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria.

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