Headlines: November 28th, 2008

Adult social care services in England are continuing to improve but both local authorities and the sector’s watchdog are warning that financial pressures mean some people do not have access to services. The annual report of the Commission for Social Care Inspection pointed to growing improvement over the last two years with 28 councils getting better and only 11 deteriorating.

The report, however, referred back to an earlier CSCI document which highlighted problems with how people qualify for council-funded help. It said those who did not qualify for help were often left to struggle or had to find ways to pay for care. In the annual report, CSCI’s Chief Inspector, Paul Snell said, “There is a great deal of good work going on in local councils around England . People who do qualify for care are getting better services.

The Local Government Association congratulated councils and said the ratings were encouraging news for people receiving care and for authorities that were changing services for the better. “More adults are receiving better care at the right time and in the right place,” said David Rogers, who chairs the LGA Community Wellbeing Board.

He stressed, however, that the progress was being made at a difficult time for adult social services and with many councils under severe financial pressures because Government grant increases had failed to keep pace with rising demand and inflation. He added, “Currently three quarters of councils can only afford to provide care to people with the most substantial or critical needs under the Fair Access to Care Services system.”

Councillor Rogers said the CSCI report showed that the best performing councils had strong management and leadership and actively involved people receiving care, carers and staff in shaping and developing their services. “The next step is to ensure all authorities provide such excellent services,” he said.