Headlines: August 4th, 1999

From the autumn, social services departments will have to make public their annual performance records. Publishing this information will help local people know how well, or how badly, their social services are performing and help councils monitor their own performance more effectively. The aim is to drive up standards, and improve services across the board.

There will be fifty indicators in the Performance Assessment Framework. They will include how quickly users and carers receive help, how quickly equipment is delivered to people who need assistance to stay in their homes. There will also be data about the number of children in care who are adopted, and numbers of older people, people with disabilities and people with mental health problems helped to live at home.

The recent Annual Report by Denise Platt, Chief Inspector of Social Services, expressed concern that many services are still not provided to an acceptable and consistently high standard. The expectation is that publishing performance information will increase the pressure on the under performing services to raise their game.