Government proposes return to CQC assessments of local authority adult social care
New ‘assurance framework’ for adult social care will be introduced through the Health and Care Bill with a duty for the Care Quality Commission to assess local authorities’ delivery of their responsibilities.
The Government has proposed a return to regulator assessments of local authority adult social care services as part of the sweeping changes in the social care White Paper, released last week.
Under the new plans, the Care Quality Commission would assess local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties with the power for the Secretary of State to intervene Where a local authority is found to be failing to meet their duties.
The Government says any intervention by the Secretary of State would be ‘proportionate’ to the issues identified and taken as a ‘final step in exceptional circumstances’ when help and support options have been exhausted.
“As social care affects a greater number of people at some point during their lives, accountability for services becomes increasingly important for both national and local government,” the White Paper states.
“It is therefore only reasonable for government to want to ensure the ASC system is delivering the right kind of care, and the best outcomes, with the resources available. We also want to be able to readily identify best practice across the system, building on existing sector-led support and improvement programmes.”
The Government says it understands that the proposals come following “an extraordinarily challenging year” for adult social care, explaining that the “initial focus will be to improve the quality, timeliness and accessibility of adult social care data”, with the assessment and intervention elements to be introduced “over time as the final element of the assurance framework”.
The White Paper has been praised as a positive step by sector stakeholders, with many supporting the need for stronger relationships between local government and the NHS.
However, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board Ian Hudspeth said the proposals must be brought forward “as a matter of urgency”.
“We understand the desire for greater transparency in social care, but councils need to be an equal partner in the design of any national oversight.”
“This must build on existing sector led improvement work, recognise local democratic accountability and give a voice to people who use and work in social care.”
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