CQC Report: Is 'adequate' the new 'poor'?

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services 
Date: December 3, 2009
Embargo: Immediate

Directors of adult social services have expressed 'serious concern at reports from individual authorities which suggest 'discrepancies and dissonances between local appraisals of adult social care by inspectors and todays reports from the national Care Quality Commission.

Speaking in a BBC News Twenty Four interview today, ADASS President Jenny Owen said this was the best overall performance rating since records began. 95 per cent of local authorities are now rated as good or excellent. No council has been rated as poor. And eight have been rated as adequate.

Yet she expressed concern at the way the eight, 'named and shamed councils described as 'adequate had been treated by the Commission, and by the media. She said: I dont know if 'adequate is the new poor - because adequate used to mean that things were OK.

Those councils know that there are areas to be improved. But they also know that the local and regional inspectors who have been working with them have been saying - and some are in print as saying - that they are pleased with the progress being made. Those councils have been working well with their inspectors, and so this headline is a surprise. Some of those eight councils havent had contact with the Care Quality Commission for months. That doesnt imply an urgent need to improve, does it?

And, she added, until I had made contact with those councils, (earlier this week) most hadnt had that information from the Care Quality Commission. So I think there is more to do here, to work with the Commission, about whats expected of them.

Its important for all eight councils to work well with the CQC, which they have been doing locally Some of them have been improving since last year; some have been told they are doing well, there are areas where improvements are to be made. But these are areas which need to be worked on with the CQC. Ms Owen also pointed out that all councils, no matter where they stood in the ratings, are constantly looking at ways in which they can improve their services to adults.

Ms Owen went on to emphasise the financial implications involved in addressing all the concerns of the CQCs report - particularly on the detail of where standards in care homes are failing. These, she said, are around staffing levels, medication, and staff supervision.

To improve these areas is going to cost more money, and councils alone cannot resolve that. This is about the underfunding of social care which has been very well highlighted in recent months, and which the Big Care Debate, now going on, is all about.

ENDS

Jenny Owen, ADASS President, 01245 434806
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755