Local government re‐organisation was promoted on the twin premises that it would reduce costs and promote local identity. The current round of re‐organisation, leading to the creation of 46 English unitary authorities, has thrown up other policy objectives, such as the potential for increased interdepartmental and agency co‐operation. This Case Study reports on the background to the re‐organisation and locates arguments specific to social services among the claims for the benefits of local government change. Using preliminary data from research in authorities currently undergoing re‐organisation, it identifies finance as a key concern and the impact financial pressure appears to behaving on community care delivery and strategy. It then focuses on the uncertainty and stress for staff and instability of relationships. Finally, it draws attention to changes in philosophy that might be thrown into relief by the new structures and ways of working. The Case Study concludes that the initial impact of re‐organisation is stressful at many levels and that it will be important to gauge long‐term effects.
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