Council Welcomes Inspection Into Adult Social Care Services

East Sussex County Council has welcomed the results of the latest Government assessment of its adult social care services. Although the rating – one out of a possible three stars – is the same as that given last year by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), the inspectorate acknowledged the council’s radical ‘Three Year Plan’ for improvement as the beginning of a period of significant progress.

Cllr Bill Bentley, Lead Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “This is what we expected and we think there’s significant reason to be heartened. We will not be satisfied until we are demonstrating wholesale improvement in the way we deliver services but the rating suggests that we are heading in the right direction and I am confident our Three Year Plan will deliver real improvements to the lives of vulnerable people across the county.”

Keith Hinkley, the council’s Director of Adult Social Care, added: “When we implemented the plan in April, we knew it would take more than just a few months to produce significant measurable results, which is why our star rating has not risen. But we are far more interested in building the foundations of long-term improvement than hastily papering over cracks. I am confident that anyone who inspects adult care services a year from now will find a significantly more efficient and more effective service than the one we had a few months ago.”

Although nationally there has been a substantial increase in central government funding for public services, the Three Year Plan was implemented to tackle the problem that the County Council believes is caused by insufficient Government funding in East Sussex at a time when pressure on services is continually increasing.

During an inspection of older people’s services in June, which contributed to the star rating, CSCI praised the ‘effective leadership’ at the head of the Adult Social Care department, both by professional staff and elected members.

Specific improvements in Adult Social Care, according to the inspectors, included the financial commitment the council had made to adult social care services – around £8m extra this year and around £6m extra in each of the next three years.

This has come despite the council receiving only £1.6 million extra this year from Central Government for all of its services outside schools – a below inflation rise of two per cent on last year. This means all other services outside schools having to cope with a cash freeze, or only a very modest cash increase, over the next three years to ensure a significant increase in funding can be targeted at Adult Social Care.

Inspectors also praised the way the council had improved consultation with service users and carers. And they said it was showing ‘exemplary performance’ in employing a range of people representing the local population at both front-line and senior management level.