25 November 2010
Councils in England are successfully keeping up adult social
care standards, according to the Care Quality Commission.
The CQC today published its annual assessment of the social
care services provided by England’s 152 top-tier and unitary councils. Of
these, 95% were judged to be performing well or excellently. The number rated
‘excellent’ jumped from five in 2008/09 to 37 in 2009/10.
Just seven councils were rated ‘adequate’ and, for the
seventh successive year, no councils were rated ‘poor’. The watchdog said these
‘adequate’ councils needed to improve their performance in all outcome areas.
CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: ‘Our experience is
that good performance is the result of strong leadership and commitment by
elected councillors and service managers, working together with a skilled and
‘They encourage people to be actively involved in shaping
their own care packages, and they develop and commission the services that meet
people’s individual needs.
‘The best-performing councils work closely with health
agencies to deliver joined-up care, with joint commissioning and monitoring of
services becoming more common. This year, partnership working was found to be a
key strength in half of councils and an area for improvement in a third.’
The NHS Confederation said the findings ‘should not disguise the pressing
need to find a long-term solution for the funding of social care, or the very
real danger that the current spending settlement will mean councils will start
making it tougher for people to receive the care they need’.
Rogers, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board,
said: ‘It’s testament to this dedication that the vast majority of town halls
continually improve their services every year, giving more elderly and
vulnerable people control of their own lives and independence. That 95% of
local authorities have been assessed as performing excellently or well, and
none were rated poor, is a great achievement.
‘But we can be in no doubt there will be very hard times in the years
ahead as local government faces up to a multi-billion pound shortfall in its
adult social care budget. Tough decisions will have to be made and councils
will have to work harder than ever to keep building on this good record.’
Deputy director of policy Jo Webber said: ‘The CQC says three councils
have plans next year to raise their eligibility criteria for social care – the
big worry is that others will follow suit once they have had time to consider
the impact of the cuts in funding they are having to bear.
NHS should work closely with local authorities to ensure that the money set
aside for social care, including the £2bn promised by the government in the
CSR, is spent on social care and that we get the most value possible from it.’
This is the final time the CQC will publish an annual
assessment of councils’ social care services. In November, the government announced
that it was replacing the CQC’s assessments with a locally driven system.