CSCI and DH ‘must ease adult care data burden for councils’

Council adult care departments are expending “considerable effort” on producing performance data for central government that is of little use in improving services, a Whitehall-established body said today.

In a highly critical report, the Lifting the Burdens task force called for the Department of Health and Commission for Social Care Inspection to make much greater use of data generated by councils for their own self-assessment.

The task force – set up in 2006 to examine central government burdens on councils and led by town hall leaders – said authorities were highly critical of the volume and value of centrally required data on adult care.

It said: “The task force did not find evidence that the considerable effort put into providing this information resulted in a product that was either used by local authorities or the DH as a source of intelligence to inform activity or to manage performance.”

The report, on data burdens in adult social care, pointed to positive developments which would reduce the burden on councils and improve the usefulness of data collection. These include proposals from the NHS Information Centre, which collects data on adult care from English councils, to reduce or remove collections that were no longer of use, which the DH claims could cut requirements on councils by 60%.

It also praised plans to set up a National Adult Social Care Intelligence Service, which would harness data already collected by councils’ electronic care management systems to help authorities benchmark themsleves against each other.

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