Praise from government for adult social care

Thurrock Council’s Adult Social Care is “performing well” according to the Care Quality Commission in its final national performance rating announcement.

The latest rating (for 2009-10) sees Thurrock as “performing well” in all seven areas — last year the council was rated “performing well” in six of the seven. This year’s rating reflects Thurrock’s improvement in “maintaining personal dignity and respect”.

At Wednesday (8 December) evening’s meeting of the cabinet, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care, Cllr Tony Fish, said it “judges the quality and range of services on offer and performance and progress in improving the quality of life and outcomes for people who use services, carers and the wider community. The ratings scale ranges from performing poorly (the lowest), performing adequately, performing well up to performing excellently (the highest).”

He said that “performing well” meant the service “consistently delivers above the minimum requirements for people is cost effective and makes contributions to wider outcomes for the community”.

“This is an improvement on 2008/09 where we had one indicator where we were only assessed as performing adequately on “Maintaining personal dignity and respect”. I am particularly pleased this has improved as it relates to statutory responsibilities under Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.”

Cllr Fish said: “I have been very impressed with the dedicated and professional work of the safeguarding team and how highly it is regarded by our partners in health and the police.”

He added: “Overall I would describe this as a strong and solid performance heading in the right direction. We didn’t score any ‘excellents’, but there is a correlation between resources and outcomes.

“While it is not possible to say that spending more money is a guarantor of performance or quality it does appear that better resourced authorities – particularly at the county level – are able to use the greater resources at their disposal to drive up performance. We will need to meet that challenge by building on our local strengths and focussing on our key priorities.”

In answer to a question from Cllr Joy Redsell, Cllr Fish explained that the average “spend per head on Adult Social Care across all English local authorities is £353 per person, while in Thurrock it is only £304”

He said that “across all client groups we spend less per head” than the national average.

And he concluded: “This administration has committed itself to supporting front line services and so the reduction in Adult Social Care is only six per cent, much less than other areas of the council.

“We are confident these savings can be achieved without significant detrimental effect on service delivery.

However he warned: “Pressures on Adult Social Care are growing – people are living longer; more younger people with high care needs are coming through transition; people’s expectations are rightly growing. This will prove the biggest challenge in managing our budget next year.”

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