Caring for Vulnerable Adults: Understanding Social Care - SOCI6250

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Jenelle Clarke checkmark-circle


Social care is of central significance in the support of a range of vulnerable adults, forming one of the key services of the welfare state, albeit often with a lower profile than the closely related field of health care. In this module we trace the historic evolution of social care services (including recent processes of deinstitutionalisation and interactions with other welfare services). The role of the state is analysed in relation to the now well established 'mixed economy of welfare' present in social care. We consider in more depth the main groups of service users, namely vulnerable older people, those with mental health problems, physical or learning disabilities and informal carers. Also examined are key issues relating to user participation and empowerment, personalisation and adult protection/safeguarding. These issues are set within wider contexts of inequalities and diversity and UK (devolved) services within comparative context.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Compulsory module for the programme listed below and optional module for other SSPSSR programmes
BA Health and Social Care

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – essay (2500 words) - 50%
Examination (2 hours) - 50%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Gori, C., Fernandez, J-L and Wittenberg, R. (eds) (2016) Long-Term Care Reforms in OECD Countries: Successes and Failures, Bristol: Policy Press.
Gray, A. and Birrell, D. (2013) Transforming Adult Social Care: Contemporary Policy and Practice, Bristol: Policy Press
Hudson, B. (2021) Clients, Consumers or Citizens? The Privatisation of Social Care in England, Bristol: Policy Press
Means, R., Richards, S. and Smith, R (2008) Community Care: policy and practice 4th edn, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Needham, C. and Glasby, J. (eds) (2014) Debates in Personalisation, Bristol: Policy Press.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 demonstrate systematic knowledge of the evolution of the social care sector and the role and range of services provided therein and knowledge of the current structures of health and social care including an ability to locate them in a wider welfare and societal contexts.
8.2 understand the various methods of financing social care and their implications for policy
8.3 critically evaluate the role of the state within a 'mixed economy of welfare'
8.4 demonstrate coherent and detailed knowledge and understanding of the perspectives of both service users and providers of social care.
8.5 possess systematic understanding of the contribution of sociological perspectives to understanding the policy field of social care
8.6 understand the relevance of inequality, difference and diversity for social care
8.7 possess a systematic understanding of the distinctive nature of UK social care within a comparative context

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Utilise research and statistical data, including web-based materials
9.2 Synthesise knowledge across a range of disciplinary fields within the social sciences
9.3 Demonstrate skills in written communication, addressing complex issues with arguments based on conceptual understanding, theory and empirical evidence


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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