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A sharp increase in the hours of care provided to people in their own home and an increase in independent sector in...
A sharp increase in the hours of care provided to people in their own home and an increase in independent sector involvement in residential and domiciliary care are revealed in a report published today by the department of health, announced health minister John Bowis.

The 1995 edition of Key Indicators of Local Authority Social Services contains about 240 indicators relating to local authority social services based largely on data collected by central government departments.

The indicators provide a comprehensive core of comparative information on the provision of services by local authorities. They were originally developed for the Social Services Inspectorate in their examinations of individual social services departments and for local authorities to monitor their own provision over time in comparison with other similar local authorities.

There are indicators on demographic and social factors relating specifically to the provision of social services 1995-96 budgets on services for specific population groups (ie children, elderly people etc) analysis of expenditure and expenditure rates in relation to the population for 1993-94 child protection services, day care for children under 5, secure accommodation, children looked after by local authorities services for adults covering residential and domiciliary care and private sector involvement local authority staffing costs of residential care.

Generally the indicators show that service expenditure and provision can vary widely even when comparing authorities that are apparently similar. They therefore provide a useful tool for examining the priorities of authorities and the efficency with which services are delivered though they should always be interpreted in the context of local needs.

Other indicators in the report show:

- contact hours of home help varies from 240 hours to 1600 hours per 1,000 population aged 75 and over

- the proportion of local authority supported residents in homes for older people who are in independent homes varies between 7% and 100%

- 1995-96 authority budgets and how authorities intend to spend them, in relation to their population

- that places in day nurseries for children under five vary from less than five per 1,000 population under five to more than 200 per 1,000

- most children looked after are in foster placements but the proportion varies from 42% to 80%

'This volume brings together statistics on the whole range of social service provision and presents them in a way which allows easy comparisons between similar authorities,' Mr Bowis.

'These figures augment and update those published earlier this year by the Audit Commission and give a more detailed and comprehensive picture. I am certain that they will help local authorities to become more efficient in considering their strategies and priorities for delivering social services.'

Copies of the indicator publication are available from: SD3K, Room 451C, Department of Health, Skipton House, 80, London Road, London SE1 6LW. Tel 0171 972 5599. fax 0171 972 5662.

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