Urgent action is needed to improve adults’ social services in “coasting” and one-star councils, the Commission for Social Care Inspection said today (Thursday).
In the first star ratings devoted solely to adults’ services, CSCI gave 33 of the 150 councils one star rating and criticised 13 of them for failing to raise their performance over the past three years.
Half of 24 councils identified as “coasting” in adults’ services last year were taken off the list this year, while one new council – Herefordshire – was added.
However, for the second year running, the Association of Directors of Social Services criticised the use of the term “coasting” as unhelpful.
Overall, CSCI found performance in adult social care had improved for the fourth successive year, but the rate of improvement was slowing.
Comparing the results with what councils would have scored for adult social care in 2005 had there been a standalone rating, 25 local authorities moved up, including 10 from two to three stars. The Isles of Scilly, the only council that would have rated zero for adults last year, moved up to one star.
Ratings deteriorated in 16 councils, with nine moving down from three to two stars due to falling performance in areas including managerial and political leadership, and quality assurance.
Areas for improvement singled out by CSCI included value for money, commissioning, support for carers and direct payments take-up.
While there was a “substantial” increase in the use of direct payments issued – 32,000 people by the end of March this year – only a quarter of councils had noted this as a priority area for improvement.
CSCI also raised concerns over high eligibility thresholds for accessing adults’ services.
Under government plans, star ratings will be abolished in 2009.
‘Coasting’ councils – one star
● East Sussex
● South Gloucestershire
Contact the author