Lukewarm reaction to plan for adult services directors to have wider role

Directors of adult social services will be encouraged to take responsibility for all council services for adults and may be forced to do so in the future, the Department of Health revealed this week.

In best practice guidance on the director of adult social services role, the DH said it wanted to have a single line of accountability for adult services but would not yet prescribe a wider role for directors.

However, it said: “The government will keep the need for more prescriptive guidance under review.”

The DH will order local authorities to appoint a lead councillor with responsibility for all council adult services, and promised to legislate “at the earliest opportunity”.

The moves are intended to ensure a unified approach to promoting well-being and social inclusion, while giving adult directors the same status as their children’s counterparts by giving both a broad remit.

However, they drew a sceptical response from social care leaders.

Andrew Cozens, strategic adviser for children, adult and health services at the Improvement and Development Agency, welcomed the broadened remit but added: “The trouble with prescribing is you haveto change the role in three years when the world’s moved on.”

British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones said a role which, in unitary authorities, would cover housing, regeneration, leisure, adult learning, community safety, transport and environmental health would be too broad.

He said: “If the director of adult services is made responsible for the bulk of the business of the council there’s a danger that they lose their focus on adult social care.”

The Local Government Association said the DH should not legislate for a lead adult councillor, because this should be a local decision.

The DH issued statutory guidance on the director’s role, alongside the best practice guidance, having issued best practice guidance for consultation in March 2005.

It said most respondents had seen statutory guidance as necessary to give the role enough clout. It would also give it parity with the children’s director role.

● Guidance on the Role of the Director of Adult Social Services from

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.