Commissioners Approve New Star Ratings For Care Services

A new system of star ratings for all social care providers in England took another step towards becoming reality today.

{mosimage}Work to begin implementing the new system will begin in January 2007.  People who use services, social care providers and local councils will be invited to work with CSCI staff in making sure the new system is robust and receives proper scrutiny from all key stakeholders throughout the implementation phase. 

Commissioners for the Commission for Social Care Inspection, led by Dame Denise Platt DBE, agreed to proceed with implementing the new system following a public consultation that received nearly 3,000 responses. 

The majority of respondents supported using ‘stars’ to describe the ratings.

CSCI also commissioned an Ipsos Mori telephone survey of the general public which found that 96 per cent of more than 1,000 people questioned agreed they wanted as much information as possible when making choices about services.

Dame Denise Platt, speaking after a public Commission meeting today, said: “These new star ratings will be of significant benefit to people who use social care services, both now and in the future.  

“The public want these ratings so that they can make informed choices about the quality of care services in their area.  They also expect there to be a link between cost and quality – 88 per cent of those we polled expected a care home or care service that costs more to be of a better quality.  

“This new system of rating all care providers will have a significant impact on 25,000 businesses, 150 local councils, and millions of people who already use, or are planning to use, social care services.  More and more people are paying for their own care.  

“We want this system to be long lasting, effective and robust. Our consultation has been wide-ranging and detailed, and as a result has highlighted a number of issues that we will now address before we introduce the new system.  In doing this we will continue to work closely with service providers and people who use social care services.

“These ratings have a huge potential to raise standards across the board.  This year, we have already been advising providers of what their rating might have been based on judgments against the national minimum standards. Already, 43 per cent of those rated as ‘poor’ at the start of the year have improved their quality of service.  This is a dramatic effect, and reinforces the impact that quality ratings will have in improving services for people who use them.”

At their meeting, Commissioners agreed to:

  • Proceed with the implementation of quality ratings for all regulated social care services in England
  • Use ‘star’ ratings (ranging from 0 – 3) plus an accompanying  descriptive word such as ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘adequate’ or ‘poor’ to demonstrate the quality of care provided.  

  • Set up a Market Review Group comprising representatives of service providers, local councils and people who use   care services to look at the impact of star ratings on the sector.

  • Introduce the new system following further detailed work with key stakeholders in relation to proportionality, quality assurance, dealing with challenges, the content of the judgment descriptors and link to outcomes, and preparing the sector for change.  

  • Representative bodies for service providers, local council adult social care services and people who use services will be invited to join CSCI staff in scrutinising the implementation of the new star ratings later in 2007.

  • CSCI will keep its ‘consistency mailbox’ which allows service providers to highlight any areas of potential inconsistency in the way Commission inspectors work and apply their judgements.

  • The Commission will review progress on implementation in its next meeting in February 2007, when it will receive a detailed report on the workstreams to underpin the delivery of the rating system and advice on the optimum time to ‘go live’.