Abstracts: September 29th, 2008

This Task Force report on removing bureaucratic burdens describes any central government activity which hinders the effective and efficient delivery of services and outcomes at the local level as a burden. This can include; plans, guidance, legislation, approval processes, funding arrangements or performance information as well as inspection activity carried out by independent inspectorates and regulators.

The Task Force expressed alarm at the feeling across local government that the amount of reporting had increased, when in fact it had decreased. There is a determination to reduce further the reporting demands and work is in hand to develop a social care assessment framework that reduces the data burdens, reflects the new transformation agenda, assesses outcomes and enables innovation. Implementing this framework will mean breaking local and central government’s reliance on performance indicators. The framework will also require local government to measure performance and outcomes sufficiently by other means. In addition, the Inspectorates will need to accept this change of approach.

The other key issue is effective local partnership working between health and social care. The report shows that even where there is clear will and a commitment between partners to co-operate, a number of barriers remain. Whilst these may not prevent good partnership working, they do place a significant drag on it and add unnecessarily to the inherent challenges in trying to deliver better outcomes for people with complex social and long-term health needs. The report recommends that the Department of Health addresses these systemic burdens as a matter of priority.

The Task force report is available from Communities and Local Government.