Social care ratings questioned27th November 2008
The Commission for Social Care Inspection has found that adult social services had improved for the sixth year in a row.
However, the record high scores are also being called into question after the watchdog body and campaign groups raised concerns that councils were restricting who was eligible to use services such as home care.
Out of the 150 councils in the country, 56 were given the highest rating of three stars. Two star ratings went to 75 authorities and 19 received a one-star grading. No councils were awarded a zero rating.
However, while the figures show that 20% of councils have risen in the ratings and 7% deteriorated there was widespread concern that the system judges councils only on the services they provide, rather than the access offered to people.
Evidence has also emerged that in recent years, this access has been further restricted as councils cope with budgetary issues.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection was concerned enough to highlight the issue, despite the record ratings, and said that some people were being left to "struggle on with little or no help at all".
Help the Aged echoed the concerns and spokeswoman Elizabeth McLennan said: "These people get the worst possible service because they need to arrange and pay for care with no help at all from their council."
Care services minister Phil Hope said he was pleased with performance while the Local Government Association said councils should be praised for providing good quality care where they can.
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Title: Social care ratings questioned
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9380
Date Added: 27th Nov 2008