Castlebeck: Services worth buying? - ADASS

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Thursday 28th July 2011
Embargo: 12.30pm 28th July, 2011

Directors of adult social services have committed themselves to working closely with the Care Quality Commission, the health service, and all other relevant agencies to help ensure that the treatment of residents with learning disabilities or mental health issues is never again allowed to fall to the 'dreadfully low standards' recorded by the BBCs Panorama programme at Winterbourne View earlier this year.

"But", according to ADASS President Hay, "there is going to come a time when, unless standards are seen to have improved rapidly, directors will have to reconsider whether or not they wish to buy services from this group of care providers."

Castlebeck, which owns the home and many other similar establishments, is the subject of a Care Quality Commission report published today which was welcomed by ADASS as `an important step towards protecting residents from abuse as well as addressing some of the wider issues within our care systems which need urgent attention.

According to ADASS President Peter Hay: "One of the most important concerns to be faced up to and settled is the impoverished state of training and workforce development available to staff working in some homes for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

"Clearly Winterbourne View gave us all a glimpse of how poor these standards can be. Although we must acknowledge that excellent practice exists in many of the homes we use, we help nobody and solve nothing by ignoring the inadequate training provided in some cases. We should make improvements in this area an absolute priority for all concerned."

He stressed as well the commitment of the Association to working to create a long-term, systematic and sustainable improvement in these services. Acknowledging the CQCs decision to examine substantial numbers of similar care homes he emphasised that "this is only a quantitative not a qualitative - measure and as such, though important, will have only a limited value."

He called for 'new thinking, new ideas, and new solutions' to what has become an increasingly neglected area of social care, and called on wider consultations, especially with health services colleagues, to help move progress forward. "We need new, improved approaches which will look wider than inspection and regulation regimes and, alongside NHS colleague as core partners in the exercise, develop new and improved approaches to these issues.

"As well as health partners, people who use these services, their families and carers are crucial to the success of any new proposals to emerge, while care home owners, too, need to be engaged and involved at an early stage. We really must move on from allowing people with the most complex learning disability and mental health needs still to be left out of sight and out of mind in institutionalised care," he said.

ENDS

For further information contact:
Peter Hay, ADASS President, 0121 303 2992
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

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.

`Personalisation' is a term used to describe a number of ways in which vulnerable adults and their carers can receive a mixture of local authority and government money in order to pay directly for the care services they need without direct social services involvement.

They will be helped in making an assessment of their needs and finances by social workers who will also involve and consider the needs and availability of carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the care worker or operator. The government has urged local authorities to prioritise the roll-out of individual budgets.