Headlines: November 29th, 2007

Standards of social services care provided to adults by local councils have shown an overall improvement for the fifth successive year. Performance ratings published today by the Commission for Social Care Inspection show a third of councils have been awarded three stars and for the second year running there are no authorities failing to gain at least a single star.

The Commission says those councils that have improved this year had demonstrated a greater focus on outcomes for people, including good intermediate care, avoiding the need for hospital admissions, as well as improving support for carers, and homecare services.

“Performance Ratings for Adult Social Services in England 2007” shows 24 councils improved their star ratings but 15 saw their rating slip. Nine authorities have improved to achieve the top three-star rating but five that were in that bracket last year have dropped to two stars. Overall, 28 councils have a single star, 74 have two stars and 48 – 32 per cent of the total – are in the highest category.

CSCI Chief Inspector Paul Snell said, “The councils serving people well aren’t just providing good social care services, they are constantly raising their game and aiming high to continually improve, and provide the best possible services for local people.”

The report shows the biggest improvements in the movement of councils from one to two star status. Of the 15 authorities that achieved that, nine had last year been deemed by the CSCI to be ‘priority for improvement councils’. The Commission says the nine had improved their service provision, demonstrated a focused commitment of resources to areas of concern, improved their financial management, strengthened leadership and partnership working and had improved their planning, commissioning and management processes.

Paul Snell said, “CSCI will focus particular attention on the remaining twelve ‘priority for improvement’ councils in the next year, all of which will need to urgently consider how they can better serve local people.”