Equalities report; No substitute for robust, effective inspection - ADASS

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Tuesday 22nd November 2011
Embargo: 00.01 hrs, Wednesday 23rd November 2011

Directors of adult social services have acknowledged the strength of todays Equality Commission* report into the care of people in their own homes. But emphasise that the report shouldnt be allowed to cast too deep a shadow over all enterprises looking after vulnerable people at home.

"There are a lot of people doing a lot of work, often in quite distressing circumstances, treating older people with the full dignity and respect they are entitled to," said Peter Hay, President of ADASS. "But where things are going wrong and sometimes they do - then they have to be identified and put right as quickly as possible," he said. "It is simply inexcusable for people to be left on their own in some of the conditions the EHRC report describes."

In that regard he welcomed the decision by the Care Quality Commission to begin inspecting providers of day care services to people in their own homes, but stressed the importance of involving the people receiving the services as well as their families and carers in both the choice and monitoring of the services provided. He said: "ADASS will work with users and other experts experienced in these issues, as well as the Equality Commission itself, in order to improve the standards of home care services commissioned by Local Authorities and individuals using direct payments.

"Increasingly older - and disabled people too - are beginning to take greater control, through personal budgets, and with the encouragement of local authorities, of their own destinies. We accept there are variations across the country, but DASSs everywhere are pulling out all the stops to ensure that the take-up of personalised services is maximised in accordance with the set targets.

"There is a good case to be made for bringing home care services within the purview of the Human Rights Act, as are residential services already. But while what may be a fairly protracted discussion concerning that continues, there can be no substitute for constant vigilance by users, families, carers and social care staff. And robust and effective inspection by the CQC," 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

* Equality and Human Rights Commission: Inquiry into the human rights in home care for older people: November 2011

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.

'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. A National Director for Social Care Transformation was appointed in September 2008 to contribute to the development of personalised services.