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NEW SOCIAL CARE INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE WILL RAISE STANDARDS AND TACKLE INCONSISTENCIES

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Health minister John Hutton and national assembly minister Jane Hutt today announced that the new Social Care Insti...
Health minister John Hutton and national assembly minister Jane Hutt today announced that the new Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) will be established this summer. SCIE is intended to play a key role in raising the standard of social care provision throughout England and Wales.
Setting up SCIE is an important element in the government's continued drive to modernise social services across the country and tackle variations in quality and standards of services that exist between authorities.£2m has been allocated to help establish SCIE this year.
SCIE will create a knowledge base of what works in social care and the information will be made available to managers, practitioners and users. It will rigorously review research and practice to provide a database of information on methods proven to be effective in social care practice.
Using this information, SCIE will produce guidelines on best practice. They will be disseminated across the sector and will be readily accessible to the staff who actually deliver the services. SCIE will work to help staff implement Best Practice, ensuring they are equipped with both the knowledge and support needed to bring
about an improvement in services offered.
The guidelines will also feed into the standards set by the Social Services Inspectorate, and ultimately those produced by the General Social Care Council and the National Care Standards Commission, to monitor performance. This will mean users can then be confident that the services they receive have been tested against the best and most up-to-date knowledge in social care.
Mr Hutton said: 'We are determined to raise standards in social care provision and
tackle current variations in care across the country. Social services provide crucial support and care for many people across the country and the highest possible standards must be set in all areas at all times. The Social Care Institute of Excellence is key to achieving this goal.
'Establishing best practice and disseminating this effectively has been a stumbling block within social care. This has led to inconsistent levels of quality throughout the country. SCIE will determine what works best in social care, allowing us to improve consistency in the quality of practice and service delivery.'
Jane Hutt said: 'We are committed to raising standards in Wales and welcome
participating in extending knowledge about best practice in social care. We recognise the value in sharing knowledge and working in partnership in this field.'
Staff from the National Institute for Social Work (NISW) will work with the Department and the National Assembly for Wales to set up SCIE. SCIE will continue to build on NISW's expertise in the development and dissemination of knowledge on social care, in particular its innovative work in electronic communications, as well
as making use of its network of contacts within the social care field.
SCIE will work closely with new and existing organisations in social care, such as the Social Services Inspectorate, the National Assembly for Wales, the General Social Care Council and the National Care Standards Commission, to implement the Government's Quality Strategy for social care. SCIE will also promote the health and social care partnership agenda through its work with NICE and other organisations in the health care sector.
The setting up of SCIE as a centre for knowledge is one aspect of the government's aim to improve information and information systems within the social care sector. The availability of good information systems is fundamental to the provision of high quality services that meet the needs and expectations of service users.
Funding has been made available through the Spending Review to help authorities to tackle the information management agenda under the Information for Social Care strategy. Of this,£3m is to be used in 2001-2002 so that local authorities can develop or update local strategies and capital investment plans, and to fund a small number of demonstrator projects.
Notes
1. The creation of SCIE was announced in the government's Quality Strategy for Social Care in August 2000.
2. SCIE will work closely with organisations at national and regional level. The department of health will be advertising for SCIE's key appointments shortly.£2m (for 2001-2002) has been allocated to establish the new body.
3. The department of health will soon be seeking bids for the information demonstrator projects. Further details and the allocation of the£3m will be announced later this year.
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