Report criticises plans for reduced spending on children’s services

services departments are planning to spend more on services for
older people and people with mental health problems this year,
reflecting government priorities and the cost of implementing the
National Service Frameworks for these client groups.

recently published Social Services Inspectorate Monitoring Report
Spring 2001 reveals a planned expenditure increase for 2001-2 of
3.9 per cent on older people’s services and 6.3 per cent on mental
health services. However, inspectors express fears about the
smaller 1.8 per cent planned rise in spending on children’s

“Reductions in planned spending on children’s services may pose a
risk to progress with the Quality Protects initiative,” the report

Inspectors also criticise the low level of expenditure planned
across councils for training. “The generally low level of training
resources, extremely low in some councils, is a matter for concern
in a period of major change; especially where coupled with high
levels of staff absence and problems with recruitment and
retention,” they conclude.

report finds a “positive picture of strengthening partnerships”
between health and social services, but notes that only 95 of the
518 initiatives to use Health Act 1999 flexibilities reported to be
in preparation have been formerly notified to the DoH’s regional

half of all local authorities describe planning relationships with
NHS bodies based on consultation, regular discussion, sharing
information, and mutual understanding and support. However, there
are significant regional variations and in many areas the routine
sharing of operational information “is not sufficiently effective
to support the kind of partnership needed to deliver NHS Plan

report also highlights the lack of attention paid to ethnic
minority issues and notes how councils’ Best Value performance
plans make little reference to improving access to services for
these communities.

Meanwhile the Audit Commission’s Best Value annual statement
published last week reveals that of the first 500 inspections
completed in English and Welsh local authorities, almost two thirds
of services were rated as only fair or poor. Just 37 per cent were
awarded two or three stars for good or excellent services.

social care regions Monitoring Report Spring 2001 from and Changing Gear:
Best Value Annual Statement 2001 from

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