Headlines: October 27th, 1998

New information from the Department of Health has highlighted big differences in spending on social service provision, from one council to another.They also show that children in social service care will experience a different form of care, depending on where they live, with only 47 per cent receiving foster care in some towns and cities, and up to 86 per cent being fostered in others.

Perhaps the biggest anomaly shown by the figures is in the difference it costs up and down the country for residential care. The cost of keeping a resident in a local authority home can vary from a hundred and twenty five pounds, to seven hundred and fifty pounds a week.

The Key Indicators Graphical System contains information from 1990-91 to 1998-99 for all local authorities in England, with about 250 indicators formed each year based on data collected by central government departments. They were originally developed for the Social Services Inspectorate and local authorities to compare social services provision and can be useful to anyone looking at social services performance issues.

The new information comes in the first update to the 1998 Key Indicators. Copies of the graphical system used to illustrate the data, and the data update are available from: SD3C, Room 451C, Department of Health, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London SE1 6LH.