Audit Commission report.  A cautious ADASS welcome...

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Wednesday 22nd August 2012
Embargo: 00.01 Hrs Thursday 23rd August, 2012

The Audit Commission report* published today, which emphasises the importance of making social care assessment processes as efficient and effective as possible, provides local authorities with `important benchmarking information to help guide future progress, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

However, in ADASSs response, vice-president Sandie Keene cautioned against accepting uncritically the large amounts of savings the report says are possible. She said: we need to welcome the continued focus on making assessment procedures as efficient as possible. But we cannot assume that the sorts of savings mentioned in the report are easily attained.

Different local authorities vary enormously in the way they describe some of their functions when making their Referrals, Assessment and Packages of Care (RAP) returns to the DH the data on which the Commission has based its research.

However, she went on, this report gives very helpful benchmarking information which we should be encouraging all councils to consider in their planning for budget reductions over the coming year. It gives further opportunity for each authority to ask itself questions about the possibility of doing the assessment and care management functions differently while transforming services to ensure a more personalised approach.

So, we welcome the report and the help it can give us in making the decisions that face us. But we cannot accept that it either could, or will, lead to the magnitude of savings that the Commission has suggested.

Ms Keene pointed out, though, that DASSs are now working on the next level of transaction efficiencies achievable by working more closely with health; developing single points of access and reducing duplication in care planning as well as  examining the workforce skill mix on a wider scale.

She also pointed to the potential benefits arising from appropriate integration of health and social care management systems. Paying attention to skills-mix issues is crucial and essential in making sure our users get the right assessment by the right people in the right circumstances. However she did not agree that pay rates should be re-examined in this context simply for the purpose of making savings.

The Association, through its workforce and resources networks, will continue to consider ways this and other benchmarking reports can best benefit local authorities and adult social services departments.

ENDS

For further information contact:
Sandie Keene, ADASS Vice President, 0113 247 8700
John Nawrockyi, Secretary, ADASS Workforce Network, 020 8921 3000
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Pictures of Sandie Keene and John Nawrockyi available on request

*Reducing the Cost of Assessments and Reviews, Audit Commission, 2012

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.

A personal budget is a clear, upfront amount of funding from adult social care which individuals can spend on the services and support they need to help them live more independently. It can be used to buy services from both the council and other providers, mixing and matching whats available from different organisations.

Anyone aged 18 or over who is eligible for social care support can have a personal budget - but it is down to individuals whether they manage their budget themselves or whether someone else does this on their behalf.

The Department of Health survey of adult social care 2010/2011 showed that:

* 62% of service users who responded said that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care and support services they receive.

*28% said they were quite satisfied, 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and the remaining 3% said they were dissatisfied.

*26% reported their quality of life was so good, it could not be better or very good.

* 31% reported it was good, and

*33% reported it was alright.

* 10% reported their quality of life was either bad, very bad or so bad it could not be worse

See full results here.