Directors call for extra funding for assessment framework pilots

Forthcoming pilots of the Common Assessment Framework for Adults must be backed by sufficient funding if they are to succeed, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has said.

The Department of Health is inviting bids for the pilots, which will look at ways of sharing information including electronic care records between the NHS and councils.

The DH said CAF would be partly backed by a £48m capital grant for adult social care IT for 2008-9 and an £11m-a-year capital fund over three years. The IT grant is also expected to cover other schemes including the Electronic Social Care Record.

David Johnstone, who leads on IT for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services welcomed the news but said the absence of revenue funding for CAF pilots was a “problem.”

“Health and social care partners undertaking the pilots will incur significant revenue costs in CAF pilot work,” he said, adding that implementing CAF was as much to do with people and culture as it is to do with IT. “People and culture change can be expensive.”

He suggested that the Social Care Reform Grant – money given to councils to bring about the personalisation reforms – could be used to complement the IT capital grant.

Johnstone also warned that different standards of information across councils and the NHS could put the success of the CAF at risk and called for more DH funding to promote “consistent” standards.

“It will not be possible to join up customised local authority information systems with the NHS care record system unless we have consistency of data definitions and information standards in social care,” he said.

The CAF for adults, modelled on the existing CAF for children, was proposed in the 2006 white paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say.

The DH guidance last week said a “small number” of CAF pilot sites would each be made up of at least one council with social services responsibility and at least one NHS health trust. The deadline for bids is 28 October.

More information

DH: Capital grant for adult social care it infrastructure

DH: Piloting the Common Assessment Framework for Adults

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