Tool lets councils compare care performance

The Department of Health has launched a new tool to help councils compare their performance on social care with similar areas across England.

The tool groups upper tier and unitary authorities by their spending on the over-65s and working age adults with learning disabilities.

The aim is to help local authorities see how they are meeting various indicators, and to identify areas for improvement by viewing the performance of their peers.

Writing on his blog,Jon Rouse, director general, social Care, local government and care partnerships at the Department of Health, said: “I believe this is a positive basis for encouraging local authority colleagues – particularly those involved in commissioning services – to take a fresh and focused look at the relationship between expenditure and outcomes.”

“It may be that two councils spend similar amounts on particular services and yet quality outcomes are very different.

“The efficiency tool will encourage councils to share their knowledge to help improve their outcomes or perhaps reduce high costs through the adoption of processes and techniques already proven elsewhere.”

He said that the tool was not intended to be used as a league table to identify the best and worst performers.

The tool allows users to view indicators including adult social care expenditure per head, the quality of services, care packages provided, and patient feedback.

It uses methodology previously established by the Audit Commission and reviewed by the London School of Economics.

Rouse said that he hoped that further functionality would be added in future, including bespoke reports to help make “even better use of comparable council data”.

He added: “I believe this tool is a useful advancement in making best use of limited resources. I hope many people use it to better understand their own council’s ways of working and open the channels to positive and creative discussions with peers within and between councils.”

Colin Marrs

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