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Care standards for those needing social work services are slowly improving in Scotland. Information released today ...
Care standards for those needing social work services are slowly improving in Scotland. Information released today by the independent Accounts Commission shows that:

- there has been an overall increase in the proportion of qualified staff working in councils' homes for children, the elderly and for other adults, over the last two years. In 1998/99 just over one in three of the staff in councils' residential homes for children was qualified. The proportion of qualified staff in homes for the elderly was about one in five.

- the proportion of single rooms in residential homes increased to nearly 80% in children's homes, 85% in homes for the elderly and over 90% in homes for other adults

- on average, two out of three councils met the standard of two inspections per year for residential homes, up from one in three councils two years earlier

- about 98% of elderly people, 94% of people with learning difficulties and 88% of children, who were assessed as needing respite care, received it during the year. The overall proportion of assessed people who have received respite care has increased each year since 1996/97 despite an increase in the number of people assessed from about 18,400 in1996/97 to 20,500 in 1998/99.

Director of social work studies for the commission, Caroline Gardner, says:

'The general improvement in social work services is welcome. This is one of local government's most important services and it is encouraging that trends in service delivery are on the right track.'

The commission's pamphlet also shows that:

- just over eight out of ten of the nearly 11,200 children in council care were looked after in community placements rather than in residential homes. This proportion has remained relatively stable for many years

- the number of people receiving home help/home care services continued to fall and was about 71,600 in1998/99. However the proportion receiving high levels of care (ie more than ten hours per week) rose to just over one in nine.

This pamphlet is the last of a series of six pamphlets comparing the performance, over a range of services, achieved by all 32 Scottish councils, eight fire brigades and eight police forces.

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