Headlines: December 4th, 2009

Local authorities say they want care inspectors to act quickly in cases where they find homes for the elderly are failing to come up to standard. In its response to the Care Quality Commission’s report into the quality of adult social services, the Local Government Association said it was important that it did not undermine confidence in what councils were doing.

David Rogers, who chairs the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said no local authority would choose deliberately to place someone in poor quality accommodation but the information routinely available to councils was patchy. “We expect the regulators to urgently address homes they know or find to be failing, in order to deliver the quality of accommodation that everyone expects to live in,” Councillor Rogers said.

The LGA said older people had the right to stay in a particular local area so they could remain close to family and friends but if there was a lack of good quality accommodation in that neighbourhood, councils struggled to find suitable vacancies. It also stressed that local authorities would take action if an older person or a relative believed standards in a home were poor. That might be done by working with the home and the Care Quality Commission to bring about improvements or by helping people to find alternative accommodation.

Councils were also investing in services to help keep people active, delaying the onset of major health problems and postponing the time when intensive care and support was needed. Councillor Rogers added: “This report must not undermine public confidence in the good work that councils are doing to help people needing care and support at a time when the number of older people is increasing and budgets are shrinking.”