High marks for care provision, despite problems

PUBLISHED: 15:48 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

DESPITE the chaos caused to elderly people in the Spring from a shake-up of care providers, Herts County Council has still received the highest ranking in new star ratings. For the second year in succession, it has received three stars in the ratings draw

DESPITE the chaos caused to elderly people in the Spring from a shake-up of care providers, Herts County Council has still received the highest ranking in new star ratings.

For the second year in succession, it has received three stars in the ratings drawn up by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).

It has been marked as good for delivering outcomes and with an excellent capacity to improve.

But earlier this year, the county council was forced to suspend Supporta Care, the company which had taken over from three different companies providing home care in the St Albans district.

They were left with no choice after scores of elderly and vulnerable people were left without vital care at weekends because of staffing problems Supporta Care faced after taking over the contract.

The county council also had similar problems in other districts including East Herts and Three Rivers and came under fire for not adequately monitoring the contract changes.

The CSCI has a remit to ensure that councils make sure the people they serve receive high-quality social care services. One of its main roles, by its own admission, is to assess whether local councils use their resources effectively and local people get value for money.

A spokesperson for the county council said that since the problems first arose, they had worked in partnership with Supporta Care to turn things around, as demonstrated by the care provider receiving a two-star rating from CSCI following its latest inspection.

He went on: "The mark of an effective local authority is one which can take decisive action to rectify any problems as quickly as possible. We cannot guarantee that issues will never arise but we can do our utmost to try and avoid them and, when they do arise, tackle them effectively as we did in this case."

The spokesperson maintained that the excellent rating was the result of the hard work of staff in a wide range of areas. Among the key issues highlighted in the report was the strategy to extend and improve accommodation services for older people, services which helped older people remain independent, work carried out to reduce emergency hospital admissions and initiatives prevent people misusing drugs and alcohol.

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