CSCI report 'too gloomy' over personalisation agenda
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Tuesday January 27, 2009
Today's comprehensive report on the state of social care in
England and the last by the Commission for Social Care Inspection - is broadly fair, encouraging and optimistic, directors of adult social services said today.
However, according to ADASS President John Dixon, the report is altogether too gloomy when it comes to its assessment of the extent to which personalisation, and the Putting People First agenda*, are taking shape within local authorities.
According to the report, and fully appreciated by ADASS members, the full extent of the adult care enterprise in England comes to close on £20 billion, with over 1.75 million people of working age and older people using different social care services. The industry supports close on 1.5 million social and care workers and makes an important contribution to local economies and employment.
According to John Dixon, it is important to recognise the scope of adult care and the acknowledgement by the CSCI that the quality of care to those receiving it has steadily improved over the six years in which the Inspectorate has been in operation.
We are all concerned that not everyone in need of social care always gets it, and it is to the credit of departments of adult social services that they have gone out of their way to meet needs in ways which are not always reflected in the formal eligibility criteria they publish. Directors and local politicians alike should take great pride in the fact that there are no longer any zero-star rated departments in England, and that, as the CSCI report shows, 87 per cent of our departments are rated at either two or three stars.
He went on: we appreciate that, when the CSCI surveys were undertaken, the overall development of the Putting People First agenda was, and to a certain respect still is, patchy. That is why ADASS is working with the DH as well as with the LGA and IDeA on supporting authorities on implementation.
The new deputy regional directors, responsible for driving improvements regionally, had yet to settle into their new posts. And departments generally have been wrestling with the problems of moving from low-scale pilots to fully upscaled and upskilled personalised services concentrating on individual budgets, direct payments and early intervention.
Nor should it come as any surprise that different local authorities are moving ahead on different aspects of the challenges at different times. No two departments have started from the same place: each is working to its own strengths in its own way.
He went on to stress, though, that the picture was not as gloomy as the Inspectorates report suggests. Alongside my colleague Jeff Jerome the National Director for Social Care Transformation departments are moving forward on all fronts towards completing the transformation challenge within the next two years. A format for measuring progress is being devised, as is a process through which departments can help each other, locally, regionally and nationally, by sharing their successes.
A year ago the government entrusted significant transformation sums to departments of adult social services, and we are determined to deliver on expectations" he said. "And I recognise that it is the job of CSCI to spur us all on to that.
Jeff Jerome, National Director for Social Care Transformation said: This report confirms the ongoing shift towards community-based options for people receiving publicly funded care and support. It also confirms further encouraging increases in the provision of Direct Payments during the 2006/7 year.
Unfortunately it has not been able to pick up significant moves towards personal budgets and direct payments that have occurred nationally since then, developed from a strong base of In Control total pilot authorities and followed by more. In these authorities there are very many examples of personal budgets supporting people with complex and other needs.
Putting People First is a wide and challenging agenda which requires a multi-agency approach to create a more enabling and inclusive environment for the whole community, including targeted intervention programmes, as well as the development of a diverse and flexible care and support market.
Most authorities are now addressing these challenges and I am confident that over the next two years the new Comprehensive Area Assessments will start to show that the bedrock of this new environment is in place.
In the meantime we need to understand better, as quickly as possible, the size, the needs and the behaviour of the increasingly large group of people mentioned in the report, who are funding their own care. We must also reduce the bureaucracy that has grown up around assessment and care management systems that has taken larger proportions of social care budgets over the past few years, as highlighted in the report. This must not be replicated in the new systems.
John Dixon added: On a personal note, and since this is the final CSCI report, I should like to thank its chair Dame Denise Platt, and its chief inspector Paul Snell and all their colleagues for the work they have done on behalf of social care in the past six years. We wish all of them the very best for the future.
For further information contact:
John Dixon, ADASS President, 01243 777660
Jeff Jerome, National Director for Social Care Transformation, 020 7664 3218
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755
* Following publication of Putting People First a Concordat was signed in December 2007 between several government departments including DH, the Treasury and the DWP, ADASS and a number of voluntary organisations. It pledged all parties to work towards the personalisation of social services, early intervention and the provision of clear information about available social services. local authorities in England received some £530 million to help them transform their social services along the lines spelled out in the Concordat.
Pictures of John Dixon and Jeff Jerome available on request