Facing the future: the provision of long-term care facilities for older Jewish people in the United Kingdom:
Author(s): Dr Oliver Valins
Published: Tuesday 31 Dec 2002
In the rapidly changing demographic, economic, social and political climate of the United Kingdom, agencies, organizations and communities urgently need to assess how they provide services for older people. They need to consider how these services can remain viable and be in keeping with the needs and expectations of future generations. Facing the Future: The Provision of Long-term Care Facilities for Older Jewish People in the United Kingdom provides, for the first time and in one place, much of the key information, data and analysis that is needed for the UK Jewish community to plan strategically how it cares for its older people, particularly in regard to institutional care. Through the collation and analysis of government and communal data, as well as interviews with key individuals from across the country who both supply and use services, this book provides a foundation text for effective strategic decision-making for the long-term care of older Jews in the United Kingdom.
Services in the Jewish community have, for at least the last century, been provided according to the instincts of local groups and the desires of donors, with little regard to demographic and social service trends. This book offers a unique opportunity for providers to review and co-ordinate their services with the benefit of current thinking and information. It also provides current and potential service users the opportunity to understand the system of care provision for older people, and the challenges and opportunities facing the provision of residential and nursing home care for the Jewish community.
Facing the Future is by far the largest and most detailed examination of the services that are provided for older people by the UK Jewish community. However, its interest extends beyond the Jewish community. In many ways Jews living in Britain are demographic pioneers for the rest of society. Jews tend to live longer, have on average a higher socio-economic status, and make up a greater proportion of older people than the national average. As such, the issues being faced by the Jewish community are likely to be experienced by the rest of society in the next ten to twenty years. In particular, the findings of the report have relevance for other ethnic and religious minority communities whose services are not yet as well-developed and whose age profile is, for the moment, younger than that of the Jewish community. With a long history of investment and support for Jewish social care services, the UK Jewish voluntary sector maintains some of the best facilities in the country as well as standards of the very highest quality. Nevertheless, even here there are major financial and structural problems. Accordingly, the implications for government and other policymakers are even more profound.
This book is the fifth piece of research to be published as part of JPR's project, Long-term Planning for British Jewry. This four-year policy research programme aims to influence the development of policies and priorities for Jewish charities and other voluntary organizations in the twenty-first century. The programme is made up of several projects that slot together to form a comprehensive picture of British Jewry's communal organizations and services. These projects build on one another, feeding into a strategic document that will assist the community in planning its future.
For social planning purposes it was necessary at the outset of the Long-term Planning project to map the parameters of the organized Jewish community. It emerged that the Jewish voluntary sector comprises nearly 2,000 financially independent organizations; thus, the income needed to maintain these organizations had to be substantial. The first piece of published research was commissioned to map systematically for the first time the income and expenditure of these organizations across all their funding streams. The report by Peter Halfpenny and Margaret Reid, The Financial Resources of the Jewish Voluntary Sector, estimated the income of the sector from all sources in 1997 at just over £500 million. This is several times the expected proportion of the UK national voluntary sector income. Of the different elements that contribute to the income of the UK Jewish voluntary sector, the largest is social care, accounting for £135 million. A second, related study by Ernest Schlesinger, Grant-making Trusts in the Jewish Sector, showed that, in 1997-8, almost £4 million pounds in charitable grants were made to welfare organizations in the Jewish community. This was, however, only fourth on the list of recipients, falling considerably behind the Israel-related, strictly Orthodox and education categories.
The existence of 2,000 Jewish voluntary organizations requires that several thousand members of the Jewish community fill unpaid leadership posts on boards of trustees, take on the burdens of financial office and accept legal and moral responsibility for the running of each organization. JPR commissioned and published a third piece of research by Margaret Harris and Colin Rochester, Governance in the Jewish Voluntary Sector. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore the issues and challenges faced by those who currently serve on the boards of Jewish voluntary agencies in Britain, including those directly involved in formal social care provision. Some key challenges for all boards were identified, including the pressure of change in terms of increasing professionalization and the problems of recruiting volunteers and leaders. Five specific challenges emerged for the Jewish voluntary sector: the need for co-operation, the challenge of internal divisions, the need for a sense of collective responsibility, the changing demography of the Jewish population and the problem of resources.
The fourth piece of research, The Future of Jewish Schooling in the United Kingdom by Oliver Valins, Barry Kosmin and Jacqueline Goldberg, was published in the summer of 2001. This was a strategic assessment of primary and secondary school education and analysed the strengths and weaknesses of full-time Jewish day schooling from a policy perspective. In particular, it discussed whether Jewish day schools--as an example of faith-based schooling--work, and to what extent they meet the needs of pupils, parents, sponsors, Jewish communities and the wider society. It examined key performance data, including national examination results and OFSTED inspection reports, and noted, for example, how pupils at Jewish day schools achieve results that are up to 50 per cent higher than the national average. The report also included data from in-depth interviews with education providers and parents from across Britain.
Facing the Future is a companion to the education report in that it offers an in-depth examination of services available in the Jewish community. The book provides a strategic assessment of older people's care provision by the organized Jewish community, and details the historical development of social care, demographic changes and the range of services currently being provided. Its particular focus is on institutional care provision within Jewish residential and nursing homes, which account for the lion's share of communal and government funding. It addresses key policy concerns in relation to financing services, provision of places and human resources: issues that have previously only been approached on an ad hoc basis and without evidence-based research.
Facing the Future also informs the National Survey of British Jewry, the final piece of research in the Long-term Planning process. This survey takes the form of a postal questionnaire that investigates the needs, expectations and lifestyles of the Jewish public. The first phase of this study focused on the Jewish community in Leeds and elicited responses from 1,500 households. Initial findings from those (non-institutionalized) respondents aged 75 or over are included in this report. The largest component of the National Survey covers London and the South-east, with JPR recently distributing over 20,000 questionnaires to households thought to contain at least one Jewish resident.
In combination, the different pieces of the Long-term Planning project will be used to produce a strategic planning document, a co-ordinated plan for the UK Jewish voluntary sector over the next two decades. Finally, although the overall project (and its different constituent parts) is designed for UK Jewish planners, the model of research it sets out--centred on evidenced-based analysis of the inputs, outputs and processes of the voluntary sector--are of great potential value to Jewish and other minority communities world-wide. For those thinking about the future of their communities, the need for effective strategic planning has never been greater. Facing the Future seeks to provide one of the key pieces of this policy-planning jigsaw.
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