www.csci.gov.uk – Star rating: 2/5

At first sight, the logo for the new Commission for Social Care Inspection bears a strong family resemblance to the logo for the Office for Standards in Education, writes Alison Castrey.

Like Ofsted in relation to education, CSCI has a remit across all social care – providers and statutory commissioners. It would have eased scepticism about even-handedness if the CSCI website dealt equally with both. There are three missed opportunities.

First, you can call up inspection reports on care providers at will but disappointingly in the star ratings section you can’t easily access the joint review reports – the evidence behind the ratings. The link to the Department of Health website easily loses you in a labyrinth of jargon of “PSS ratings”. Locating a council’s “Performance Letter” also involves a little persistence and trial and error. Even then, the result is disappointing in terms of specific detail and evidence.

Second, it would have been helpful to add contact details for each social services department, to mirror the contact details for providers.

Third, the “information” section includes the Care Standards Act, related regulations and National Minimum Standards. However, there is no mention of the legislation and guidance relating to the obligations of local authorities in terms, for instance, of social care planning and monitoring.

Alison Castrey is a solicitor.

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