Headlines: June 26th, 2008

Directors of Social Services are concerned that care needs are not being given sufficient importance under new inspection arrangements for health and social care
providers. The new Care Quality Commission is due to replace three existing inspectorates and will begin work next April.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has, though, welcomed the new body’s tougher new powers and the widening of the current definition of the level of personal care that is subject to regulation. David Johnstone, who chairs the ADASS
Standards and Performance Network, said departments needed a regulatory framework that supported social care agencies to be more flexible in responding to individual needs and people who manage their own care.

ADASS believes, however, that the current consultation process has shown “that the contribution of social care to the well-being of people is more important than perhaps many realise in a policy arena which focuses mainly on NHS services.” Directors have also
raised concerns that the changes might undermine the solid track record built up within the social care sector between local authorities and local providers. “We need to actively ensure that the achievements of
social care are not diminished in the new
constellation,” the ADASS says in its formal response to the consultation.

The Association is also unclear about what role will be played by Strategic Health Authorities in managing regulation and believes this should have been more
clearly defined. “We need to be clear that local authorities are not accountable to the SHA,” the directors say in their response and they have warned that there is an overall “democratic deficit” within the consultation document as it stands.