Headlines: March 1st, 1999

Plans to introduce performance indicators for Social Services include proposals to measure activities where there is partnership working with the Health Service. An indicator of emergency admissions to hospital for elderly people, for example, will show the effectiveness of co-operation.

The indicators will help to ensure that best value is obtained for the 9 billion pounds spent annually on social services. Currently there are wide variations in service which mask progress.

The Performance Assessment Framework will consist of 46 indictors. It will cover five areas of performance: national priorities and strategic objectives; costs and efficiency; effectiveness of service delivery and outcomes; and quality of services and fair access for users and carers. There will be national targets such as the numbers of care leavers securing education, training or employment.

Councils will be able to assess their own performance, identifying good practice and priorities for improvement. There will also be annual comparisons for every local authority.