Social services for the elderly: implementation of the Federal Law No. 442 and future prospects
Keywords:Federal Low N 442, reforms, social services for elderly, consumer, public-private partnership, prospects
The article discusses the present condition and future prospects of the development of social servicing in Russia after the coming into force of the Federal Law No. 442 (dated December 22, 2013). The focus of the study is an ambiguous character of the reform and the related consequences. Administrative decentralization and delegation of power to regions according to this law is driven by the tasks set by the government for the stakeholders. The reforms are designed to change the logic of the provision of social services: clients, mainly female clients, would become customers, and former monopolists, state social services, would become one of the providers of social services which should interact with each other on a competitive basis. However due to high independence of regions in interpretation of the law provisions it is rather difficult to assess the degree of changes and quality improvements in social servicing. The authors provide an analysis of empirical qualitative survey conducted in a central region in Russia (Nizhny Novgorod). Using the data of semi-standardized interviews with the stakeholders involving in the implementation of the Federal Law no. 442 the authors discuss the key topics unveiling the specifics of the ongoing changes and explain the future prospects.
The findings of the study reveal restrictions concerning clients’ freedom of choice and an attempt to turn the clients into active users of social services. Other restrictions include pursuit of massive involvement and high numbers of clients, increase of costs of services, refusal to participate in competition and strive to maintain the status-quo. The authors conclude that the fundamental principles of social services such as targeting of provision of services and reciprocity will not be implemented in Russia. In order to reform social support services for the elderly it is essential to employ the resources of clients and to build a system of interactions between the state, private and public sectors.
Acknowledgements. The study was performed at St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant 19-18-00246.