Social policy: transformation and delivery: study of welfare agencies in Kwazulu-Natal.
Welfare agencies are involved in a complex process of transformation and working to overcome the past unjust system of racial and social discrimination in welfare. Many new policies have been developed as instruments of transformation and reform. There has been a shift in welfare policy from a residual model of welfare to a developmental focus. This requires radical changes by those involved in the welfare sector. This study assesses the level of transformation in service delivery in welfare agencies in KwaZulu-Natal: the link between policy and implementation. The White Paper of Social Welfare (1997) and subsequent policies will form the criteria from which transformation will be evaluated. Child Welfare agencies in KwaZulu-Natal formed the sample in the study. A survey method was used. Management members and social workers the agencies were interviewed. Senior officials and staff being policy-makers of the National Council of Child Welfare were also interviewed. It is argued that welfare agencies are grappling with the process of transformation and that delivery of services is far removed from that which the policies intend. Change, it is argued, has to be handled holistically, by combing policy, organisational change, re-ciirecting of energy and social energy. The results of study illustrates that what appears to have occurred thus far has been limited, incremental and piecemeal. The global economy and the macro- . economic policy of GEAR has constrained achievement of the goals of developmental social wefare in that there has been minimal increases in social spending. Past policies have put a brake on the implementation of a relevant welfare system. It is unlikely that agencies have the capacity to deal with the intensity of policy change, organisational development and new client bases. Overall, it can be argued that change has been haphazard, too rapid and poorly managed. A proposed model towards transformation is recommended. There has to be a partnership in the public-civic interface based on synergy and co-production if welfare services are to be relevant and meet the needs of the majority of people of South Africa.