12. February 2009 04:11
The Comission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) has delivered its fourth annual report to Parliament on the state of social care in England. One of its main themes is the extent of of the implementation of the Government's personalisation programme. The aim of personalisation is to make social services, such as help in the home and respite care, more responsive to individual need and to move away from a "one size fits all model". This is an issue of particular relevance to frail and vunerable elderly people because of their reliance on these services.
The report concluded that local authority social services departments have taken steps to address the personalisation agenda and there have been some outstanding examples of people's lives being radically transformed. However social service departments are at an early stage of transforming social care and developments are patchy and vary between different groups of people.
CSCI is the inspectorate for social care in England and also has responsibility for assessing local councils' social services performance but will be superseded by the Care Quality Comission in April 2009. The full report can be downloaded free from http://www.csci.org.uk/default.aspx?page=2629&key
21. January 2009 05:45
Dame Joan Bakewell who has been appointed a champion of elderly people by the government, is encouraging people to sign the manifesto for change in Times Online.Dame Joan's role is to act as an ''independent and informed advocate'' on issues affecting elderly people.The manifesto for change is how to improve conditions and make good quality care more accessible and more affordable.
15. January 2009 07:53
The Law Commission aims to review English and Welsh adult social care law and has published a report outlining the areas which it believes are in need of reform. If the government agrees it will start a substantive project including a full consultation straight away.
The Law Commission is a non-political independent body, set up by Parliament to keep all English and Welsh Law under review, and to recommend reform where it is needed. It has undertaken this task in relation to adult social care as it is widely recognized that the law has grown too complex, and much of it is based on outdated principles.
Adult social care refers to the responsibility of social service departments, primary care trusts and other bodies to provide a range of services to adults and their carers. Examples of these include: home care, adaptations and equipment, day centres and care homes. It also includes the mechanisms for determing eligibility for these services, delivering and charging for them and protecting vunerable adults.
One of the issues that The Law Commission wishes to tackle is establishing a set of overarching principles to help organisations understand their duties and make service users aware of their rights. The issue is obviously of relevance to elderly people because of the substantial numbers that need social care.
A full list of all the areas which the Law Commission wants to tackle are set out in: Adult Social Care: Scoping Report which can be downloaded free from www.lawcom.gov.uk/adult_social_care.htm
9. January 2009 11:14
Up to now only residents in care homes provided by public bodies were covered by the Human Rights Act. Recently introduced government legislation has ensured that care home residents in privately run care homes (both private and not for profit) whose fees are funded by the State, or where the contract is arranged by the State, now have the protection of the Human Rights Act.
Prior to this state intervention a number of high profile court cases had found these circumstances to be exempt from the Act as the providers of accommodation were not''exercising a function of a public nature''.
The government introduced measures in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to overturn the precedent set by these cases. The relevant provision (s.145) came into force on 1/12/08
11. December 2008 05:38
The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) has recently published a report "Performance ratings for adult social services in England 2008" It concludes that overall the services that social service departments in England provide to adults who qualify for their assistance have improved. They judged in the last two years 28 local authorities have got better (19%) and 11 deteriorated (7%).
CSCI's Chief Inspector, Paul Snell said "There is a great deal of good work going on in local councils around England. People who do qualify for care are getting better services......Councils are improving outcomes for people in a number of key areas such as an increased focus on personalisation, choice and control........This year's ratings show that in many councils people are better served because of strong management and leadership, and a political commitment to social care."
However, an earlier report by CSCI "Cutting the cake fairly", published in October 2008, highlighted that many English authorities have tightened their eligibility criteria and those excluded from their help often struggle.
These findings have particular relevance for elderly people as the majority of social service departments' budgets are spent on them.
CSCI is the inspectorate for adults' social care in England, responsible for regulating and inspecting all social care providers and for assessing the performance of local councils in delivering their adults' social services functions. Both publications can be downloaded free from their website. http://www.csci.org.uk
3. December 2008 04:49
Elderly tenants of Woking Borough Council have made a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about the length of time it took to deal with a younger resident who, they say, caused a nuisance and behaved anti-socially for more than two years before he was evicted. The tenants live in Frenchs Wells in Woking. It was originally built for elderly people with first a resident, and then a mobile, warden. In recent years, due to a perceived surplus of elderly people's housing in Woking, Frenchs Wells was re-designated as general needs accommodation and since then allocations have been made to applicants of any age, who were deemed to be in need, and who required one bedroomed accommodation. Some of the younger residents have lifestyles and habits very different from those of the elderly people who have been there for many years.
This is part of a wider picture of what is happening across the UK, as the changes that resulted from, amonst other factors, the move to Supporting People funding in 2003, mean that people do not have to move to sheltered housing to get support. In many areas resident wardens have been replaced by off-site staff or floating support. While this may be beneficial for elderly people who do not want to move to receive support, it can result in sheltered housing being harder to let and resident warden/scheme manager services can become harder to sustain economically. Unless the change of use is handled very sensitively, it can mean stress and misery for the elderly people who remain, and they may have to adapt not just to the loss of their resident warden/scheme manager, but may also find new neighbours do not share their aspirations for a quiet life.
Update February 2009
The Local Government Ombudsman decided that investigation of the complaint should be discontinued because there did not seem to be evidence of sustained anti-social behaviour which the Council failed to deal with.
24. November 2008 08:46
EVIDEM is a major new initiative on identifying what works in the care and provision of services for people with dementia or memory problems, which is looking for volunteers to help in reaching their goal.
Ther are five projects that will consider diagnosis; challenging behaviour; incontinence at home; enhancing end of life care; and practical guidance on the use of the law about making decisions for people who might be unable to do so themselves (the Mental Capacity Act 2005). EVIDEM is seeking volunteers who live in North London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They may live in any setting. If you, a person you are looking after, or a friend or family member are currently experiencing memory problems or have been diagnosed with dementia and want to consider volunteering to take part, please contact one of the Programme Managers by E-mail or telephone:
David Lowery: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 3214 5889 or
Jane Wilcock: email@example.com / 020 7830 2239
They will be pleased to answer any questions you may have that will help you to decide if you want to be involved in this important research.
20. November 2008 08:42
The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) has recently published a study “Safeguarding adults” on the effectiveness of local authorities’ arrangements to safeguard adults, including elderly people, from abuse and on the support they offer to those who experience abuse. CSCI’s report found:
- The effectiveness of arrangements to help prevent abuse and provide support for people who have been abused varies within and between local authorities’ areas. It also varies within individual care services. There are councils showing active leadership and building strong strategic partnerships. However, there is a gap between the best and worst performers.
- More needs to be done to ensure people who direct their own support are safeguarded.
- The evidence suggests that if a council is performing well safeguarding its adults a greater number of care services in its area are also performing well. There is an also a positive relationship between a care service’s overall CSCI quality rating and its ability to safeguard adults.
CSCI is the government body responsible for regulating and inspecting all social care providers - whether public, commercial or not for profit. They are also responsible for assessing the performance of local councils’ social services departments. Their press release can be viewed at http://www.csci.org.uk/about_us/press_releases/people_experience.aspx. The full report can be downloaded free from http://www.csci.org.uk/PDF/safeguard%5b1%5d.pdf
11. November 2008 08:03
A recent Ombudsman report which can be found in their News section has found maladministration by a local authority in relation to a number of issues in their provision of care services to an elderly man after his wife died.
The report states that initially the Council provided a package of care at home but there were serious concerns about the quality of care and the Council failed to ensure that the agency was complying with the care plan. It goes on to explain that the client was subsequently admitted to hospital and on his discharge the Council failed to undertake a proper assessment of his needs and he was placed in a care home against both his and his family's wishes.
Finally, it states that while the person was in the home the Council assessed him as a permanent rather than a temporary resident and consequently made excessive charges.The Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice on a number of counts and the Council agreed to:
improve its monitoring of home care packages
improve its assessments of residents on discharge from the hospital
refund the excessive residential care charges of £11,800.64 levied on the basis that the person was a permanent rather than a temporary resident
pay compensation of £600 to the person and £200 to the family for the avoidable distress and inconvenience caused, and £200 for time and trouble to the family member pursuing the complaint.
EAC's Advice Line provides advice and information on care at home and care in care homes, rights to assessment and care home funding, and can be contacted on 020 7820 1343.