The Treasury’s service targets are too narrow to improve overall
quality of life for vulnerable older people, leading charities have
Linked to billions of pounds of investment, the set of public
service agreements the Treasury announced last week include targets
to “improve the quality of life and independence of vulnerable
older people by supporting them to live in their own homes where
The targets stipulate that the number supported at home should
increase by 1 per cent annually in 2007 and 2008, while those
receiving intensive support at home should increase to 34 per cent
of those being supported at home or in residence.
Jim Donovan, spokesperson for older person’s charity WRVS (formerly
Women’s Royal Voluntary Service), said supporting older people at
home should be just one of several factors contributing to quality
“The only definition of improved quality of life is that they are
able to live at home. Older people can have a dire existence at
home if they are immobile, remote from family or have no human
contact. Quality of life is a totally laudable objective but if you
speak to older people about what that means it includes meeting
people and doing things that add to their experience.”
Donovan said there was a danger that councils would not focus on
the quality of home support for older people, instead concentrating
on the number able to live at home to meet the target. “If we’re
talking about high quality support for community transport schemes,
shopping schemes and neighbour schemes, then that’s great, but the
only thing that is measured is this 1 per cent more living at
Mervyn Kohler, head of public affairs with Help the Aged, agreed.
“Those targets do not refer to the real objectives of
rehabilitation, enabling people to live successful lives. The PSA
programme should be a good tool to improve services, but if
something is not in the target it can be neglected,” he said.
Also, there is a new PSA for extending child and adolescent mental
health services to all 16 and 17 year olds.
Councils that achieve all 12 PSA targets can earn up to an extra
2.5 per cent of their net budget.