services inspector's eleventh annual report, drawing particular
attention she has paid to the difficulties departments are facing
recruiting social care staff, and to the importance she has attached to
The chief inspector noted that nearly 70 per cent of all social services
authorities have good prospects for the future, and that well over half
of the `one star' councils - based on last month's performance
assessment figures - are considered to be in the same category.
ADSS members went on to welcome the improvements the inspectorate's
inspection teams had discovered in services for children in care, and
the positive attitudes of people who rely on social services to the
quality of support they receive.
According to ADSS president Michael Leadbetter, it would be foolhardy to
believe that such diverse and widespread services such as social
services could run smoothly and without fault throughout the country.
'But,' he said, 'The chief inspector's report has shown how hard social
care staff are working at improving their services to vulnerable people.
And she shows that, where excellence is achieved, the benefits to
individuals, families and their communities are powerful, and
He lost no time, either, in praising staff at Cambridgeshire social
services for the skilled and sensitive work they are continuing to carry
out in Soham following the abduction and deaths of Holly James and
Elsewhere, he noted that the chief inspector herself had drawn attention
to the adverse impact on social care of the turbulence caused by
restructuring within the NHS. While, in respect of the delayed discharge
of elderly people from hospital, he welcomed her acknowledgement that
the targeted reduction by 1,000 in England by March this year, using
money allocated from Building Capacity grants, had been 'comfortably
'Social care, at its best, is at the heart of our communities, being
with users and protecting the most vulnerable. All of our colleagues can
learn much from this report about our collective successes and the areas
in which there is room for improvement,' he said.