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Charity condemns single-star councils

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Help the Aged has slammed a rump of English councils that have failed to improve their single-star adult social services ratings over the past three years.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection’s (CSCI) latest annual statistics for the sector show that nine of the 19 one-star councils have maintained that rating since the 2006 figures.

Elizabeth McLennan, Help the Aged senior policy officer, said the statistic showed a troubling lack of improvement at some authorities.

“It’s disappointing to see that, although many councils have improved, some are still to make progress after three consecutive years,” she said.

CSCI said 28 of England’s 150 single or top-tier councils had seen their adult social services star ratings improve, versus 11 whose ratings had deteriorated equating to an overall improvement in the quality of care for those eligible for support.

It is technically possible for councils to score a zero rating for its adult social services, but no such grade has ever been applied.

CSCI chief inspector Paul Snell said the latest statistics clearly showed local improvement for those who met ever-tightening eligibility criteria.

“Councils are improving outcomes for people in a number of key areas such as an increased focus on personalisation, choice and control,” he said.

David Rogers (Lib Dem), chair of the Local Government Association community wellbeing board , said that improvement was taken place at a time when social care budgets were coming under increasing stress.

“While local government will always strive to improve, it is impossible to isolate these issues from the very serious pressures on the adult social care system,” he said.

“Many councils have faced severe financial pressures in recent years with government grant increases failing to keep pace with rising demand and inflation.”

The nine authorities to maintain an unbroken one-star rating for the past three years are: Cornwall, Herefordshire and Lincolnshire CCs, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Harrow and Havering LBCs, Luton BC, Plymouth City Council, and Walsall MBC.

Lincolnshire said it was “actively considering” pursuing a judicial review on the report its star rating was based on.

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