Department of Health’s response to Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign about its report ‘Ending 15-minute Care’.


The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall

The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The report and campaign have effectively highlighted the problem of poor local authority commissioning practices. The Department of Health fully agrees that it is unrealistic to think that 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. It is not fair on those who need support and it is not fair on care workers. The report and the accompanying on-line campaign have been a valuable opportunity to spread this message, and encourage local authority commissioners to change the ways they operate.

There are too many examples of councils buying rushed care visits and the department is working to change this. Better care is needed for the 300,000 people currently receiving home care and for the millions more who will need it in years to come.

This is why, this summer, the department announced the Home care Innovation Challenge, which has brought together local authorities, care providers and carers to look at how care can be improved, including the way councils buy their services. The department also intends to work with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to develop a set of commissioning standards to support local authorities to gauge how effectively they are commissioning services, and to bring about improvement led by the social care sector.

Although ministers were not able to support the amendments suggested in the report, they hope that supporters of Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign will be content with the amendment that the House of Lords agreed, which makes it clear that local authorities must consider a person’s wellbeing when arranging their care. Authorities that commission care in ways that force people to choose between being washed and being fed would clearly be failing to meet this duty.

The department will be working over the coming months to develop statutory guidance on commissioning and market shaping, which will be a valuable opportunity to influence local practice.

 

Press release: First Social Care Report puts spotlight on leadership


ofsted-assess-ideal

ofsted-assess-ideal (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

Children’s services in England need strong and stable leadership to bring about sustained improvement in the help, care and protection of our most vulnerable young people, Ofsted said today.

Figures published in Ofsted’s first stand-alone Social Care Annual Report show that of the 17 local authorities judged ‘inadequate’ in the past year, 11 had seen a new Director of Children’s Services recently installed while 12 had undergone another major change in senior leadership of one sort or another in the period prior to inspection.

Today’s report finds that in a climate of turbulence, increased workloads and intense scrutiny of children’s social care – much of it arising from public anxiety following a catalogue of high-profile child deaths – many areas are struggling to improve their performance.

At the end of the first full three-year cycle of inspections, only four in 10 local authorities were judged to be ‘good’ or better for safeguarding children. And there are 20 local authorities (13 per cent or one in seven) judged by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ for their child protection arrangements at the time of their most recent inspection.

The report finds that the nationwide map of poor performance is complex and changing – with the group of authorities currently judged inadequate looking very different to that of July 2012.

However, inspectors have found that a persistent absence of stable leadership was a feature of most ‘inadequate’ local authorities. In these weakest places:

  • The most basic acceptable practice was not in place
  • Supervision, management oversight, purposeful work with families and decisive action where children were at risk from harm were ineffective
  • The views of children and families were rarely considered
  • Support from key statutory partners – health, police, schools – was weak and poorly co-ordinated; and
  • In some inadequate authorities, managers did not seem to have a firm understanding of what constituted good practice – making the management of risk and support for staff at the front-line almost impossible.
  • More at:  http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/first-social-care-report-puts-spotlight-leadership