Report praises most service provision

A report on how care services are responsive to the needs, and
promote the rights, of service users has concluded that most
services meet clients’ needs but there is too much variation in

The study is based on inspection reports from the outgoing Audit
Commission/Social Services Inspectorate joint review team and the
National Care Standards Commission – which will be replaced by the
Commission for Social Care Inspection from this week.

The report praises moves to increase support for older people to
live at home and the strides social services departments have made
in reducing delayed discharge. But lack of information on
entitlements, delays in needs assessments and organising services,
a rise in care home closures, and lack of availability of direct
payments are criticised.

The report says councils have made significant improvements in the
way they carry out responsibilities for safeguarding children at
risk, with 97 per cent of child protection reviews taking place on
time – up from 81 per cent in 1999-2002. But these are not spread
evenly and councils are “a long way from achieving excellence in
all their children’s services”.

Although many councils are getting better at consulting mental
health service users, this is offset by the limited involvement of
service-users in care planning and by the needs of their carers
being ignored.

Last week a summary report of the joint reviews carried out by the
SSI and Audit Commission between 1996 and 2003 concluded that there
was little link between the amount of money spent and service

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