Council Welcomes Findings Of Report Into Services For Older People

Cornwall County Council has welcomed a new report which praises the quality of services provided for older people in Cornwall. The positive report from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) highlights a number of areas of good practice.

The report concludes that the service provided by the Council’s Department for Adult Social Care is serving some people well and has promising prospects for improvement.

Nigel Walker (Lib Dem), the Executive Member for Adults, welcomed the findings of the Inspection and said the large number of successes highlighted in the report demonstrated the hard work and commitment of staff within the Department.

“We already knew where there were significant challenges, and we have made major improvements in these areas.,- for example  people are no longer delayed unnecessarily in hospital, we have developed strong procedures for protecting vulnerable adults and the quality of our Homecare Service has been dramatically improved” said Mr Walker.

“The Lead Inspector acknowledged that our Action Plan addressed all the areas of weakness; our challenge now is to ensure that these are put in place, so that we serve more people well with excellent prospects for improvement.”

Two Inspectors from CSCI and an ‘expert by experience’, who has experience of using services, spent ten days in Cornwall assessing the social care services for older people which are commissioned or provided by the County Council and looking at the Council’s joint working and jointly provided services.

Questionnaires were sent to 90 service users, 50 carers and staff in the Council involved in care management. Inspectors then met with older people and carers, organisations which advocate or represent service users’ and carers’ interests, County Council managers, councillors and staff, key staff in health and other Council services and representatives of key voluntary and private sector organisations.

The expert in experience also took part in a number of “mystery shopping” experiences which included visits to local offices, libraries and GP surgeries, examination of the Council’s website and a review of the specialist information made available to the public.

Presenting details of the report to members of the Executive this week, Jan Clark, from CSCI, praised the progress made by the County Council in improving services for older people. Particular praise was given to the quality of partnership working in Cornwall and the significant improvements to adult protection arrangements over the past 12 months.

“Achievements include a refreshed and invigorated approach to partnership working with health and other organisations to improve outcomes for older people and their carers.  Arrangements for safeguarding adults have also been significantly improved, becoming increasingly effective in safeguarding older people”.

Other areas of good practice highlighted in the report include:

  • Greater involvement of older people and carers in service, planning, development and evaluation
  • Establishment of a joint commissioning unit to jointly develop adult services
  • Multi disciplinary working in local districts to ensure older people are well supported
  • Strong commitment by Council leaders, the PCT and Cornwall Partnership Trust to joint working to improve services
  • Stronger partnership arrangements across all sectors
  • Provision of aids and adaptations
  • Raising additional income for people using services through the receipt benefits
  • Reduced Waiting times for care packages
  • Financial management and efficiency savings
  • Increased positive feedback and satisfaction levels by people using services

The report also acknowledges some of the significant improvements achieved over the past few months, including the quality of home care services delivered by the Council and the dramatically reduced transfers of care from hospital. It highlights a number of services which, it says, demonstrate good practice and are highly valued by older people and their carers for being supportive and sustaining independence and family relationships.

Inspectors also commend the role played by Nigel Walker and Dr Carol Tozer, the Director of Adult Social Care and the senior management team in working in partnership with staff to deliver improvements. They conclude that morale within the Department is high and that frontline colleagues and managers are fully supportive of the changes.

The report also identified some areas for development. These include refocusing and improving care management arrangements to achieve a person centred outcomes focused approach, improvements to mental health services for older persons and the need to increase provision of housing with support services for older people. Inspectors also recommend that performance management and business planning processed are fully embedded in frontline teams and that further work in carried out on developing commissioning processes and embedding equality and  diversity issues at all levels for older people.

Dr Tozer told councillors she was very pleased CSCI had recognised that the Department had a very positive platform from which to make further improvements. Outlining details of the Action Plan drawn up following the Inspection, she said that it addressed all 13 recommendations in the report , as well as key comments made by Inspectors during their visit.

“The Department is working with all its partners to ensure that the most vulnerable people in Cornwall are properly safeguarded” she said. “I am delighted that the Inspectors found such high morale within the Department and look forward to working with staff and our partners to implementing the comprehensive Action Plan”.