Councils Praised For Social Care

Council social services for adults have been praised for improving performance for the fifth successive year.

{mosimage}The Commission for Social Care Inspection said the number of English councils attaining two or three stars out of three rose from 78% to 81%.

And for the second year running none of the 150 councils got a zero star grade.

But experts pointed out that there was a growing number of people being denied care as councils tightened eligibility criteria amid a squeeze on finances.

The local authorities are judged on the quality of their services as well as their management of budgets.

The watchdog praised the work done in delivering home care, supporting carers and helping those with chronic illness stay out of hospital. The social care departments were also given credit for providing equipment and carrying out home adaptations for people.

More than 2m cases were handled last year – nine out of 10 within seven days, compared to three quarters three years previously.

The ratings for 2006 to 2007 show that 48 councils were given three stars, 74 two and 28 one. It means 24 councils had improved their star rating, compared to 15 which did worse.

CSCI chief inspector Paul Snell said: “The councils serving people well aren’t just providing good social care services, they are constantly raising their game and aiming high to continually improve and provide the best possible services for local people.”

Councillor David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, said the results were a reflection of the “dedication and commitment of councils”.

“Councils work tirelessly to provide good services to the most vulnerable people in society and local authorities will continue to make further service improvements.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King’s Fund think-tank, said: “This is good news. Despite increasing financial pressure local authorities have improved the quality of care they offer to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

But he added: “The progress highlighted in the report will be lost on the vast number of those who are frail and disabled but whose needs are not deemed severe enough to qualify for support.”