A new era of social policy integration? Looking at the case of health, social care and housing



McCall V, Hoyle L, Gunasinghe S & O’Connor S (2021) A new era of social policy integration? Looking at the case of health, social care and housing. Journal of Social Policy, 50 (4), pp. 809-827.

Service integration is a global trend aiming to create partnerships, cost-effectiveness and joined-up working across public and third sector services to support an ageing population. However, social policy research suggests that the policy making process behind integration and implementation is complex, contradictory and full of tension. This paper explores social policy integration at the ground-level of services in the health and housing sector within a new integrated model for housing for older people. The paper applies a critical Lipskian approach to show the housing can promote integration for both users and wider stakeholders. Front-line workers were central to service integration, often working to integration principles despite policy changes and uncertainty. Challenges of social policy integration include the gaps between policy and practice and the developing nature of interaction at the ground-level – most notable the role of technology. Technology and digital health platforms could enhance service user and practitioner interactions at the ground-level. The paper calls for renewed focus on policy processes in relation to service integration and consideration of new forms of service user, practitioner and policy maker interaction.

integration; street-level bureaucracy; housing practice; health; technology; discretion

Journal of Social Policy: Volume 50, Issue 4

FundersWheatley Housing Group Limited
Publication date31/10/2021
Publication date online15/09/2020
Date accepted by journal22/07/2020

People (3)


Mr Saminda Gunasinghe

Mr Saminda Gunasinghe

PhD Researcher, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Dr Louise Hoyle

Dr Louise Hoyle

Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Health Sciences Stirling

Professor Vikki McCall

Professor Vikki McCall

Professor of Social Policy, Housing Studies

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