The Commission for Social Care Inspection today called for the current “flawed” system of adult care eligibility criteria in England to be replaced.
The Department of Health commissioned the probe in January, after CSCI’s State of social care report found poor outcomes for those excluded from support. Almost three-quarters of councils restrict services to those in the substantial and critical bands of FACS.
The CSCI’s review found major criticisms of FACS, including misinterpretation of the guidance, such as equating low-level need with simple services. This meant councils with high eligibility thresholds failed to commission lower level services.
The CSCI also found that some groups had been neglected, such as young adults in transition or those with fluctuating conditions.
However, CSCI chair Denise Platt said problems facing adult care stemmed from overall under-funding as well as FACS. The CSCI’s preferred eligibility system would allocate support at three different levels of need: immediate interventions for people in crisis early intervention if problems threatening a person’s well-being are likely to develop within six months and longer-term intervention if problems are likely to develop within a year.
CSCI said this could mean some excluded people receiving publicly-funded care. The report also said councils must improve their responses to anyone seeking care and support in line with the personalisation agenda. A survey found 62% of people who did not meet eligibility criteria were not given any information about help outside of councils.
The new system is proposed as an immediate replacement for FACS, as the benefits of long-term reform, through next year’s green paper on adult care, may not be seen until 2013 at the earliest, the report said.
In response, care services minister Phil Hope said he would work with stakeholders to update the FACS guidance to ensure councils could use resources in the “most open and effective way”.
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president John Dixon welcomed today’s report as a “major stepping stone” to next year’s green paper on reforming the funding of adult social care.
He added: “Many of the issues [CSCI has] grappled with can only be finally unravelled within the context of a thoroughly worked out and debated green paper on adult care funding.”