New Approach to Quality and Outcomes in Adult Social Care.

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A new approach to quality and outcomes in adult social care was launched today with the publication of the first Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework.

The framework signals a move away from top-down performance management and centrally driven process targets towards a system focused on quality and the issues that matter most to those with care and support needs. It follows the publication in November of the Vision for adult social care and the consultation Transparency in outcomes: a framework for adult social care.

Describing a set of outcomes for people who use social care services, their carers and families, the statements outline what people should expect from high quality services and will be key to helping them hold local organisations to account.

These outcomes cover a range of aspects of care, including:

ensuring people are treated with dignity;
giving people the support they need to get back to work;
giving carers the support they need to balance their caring roles while maintaining a good quality of life; and
helping people regain their independence.
The framework lays the foundations for future reforms in adult social care, which will be built upon in the Care and Support White Paper later this year. It has been co-produced with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Local Government Group (LGG).

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

“Our ambition is to make social care services more personalised, more preventative and more focused on delivering the best outcomes for the people who use them.

“By focusing on the outcomes that matter most to people and improving transparency in the system, we will empower individuals to hold their councils to account for the services they provide.

“This marks a big shift in how we ensure quality is at the heart of social care. This work is an important step towards the White Paper on Social Care Reform later this year.”

The content of the framework will be revised annually, in partnership with stakeholders, to ensure it continues to capture the needs of service users and remains of value to reduce burdens on councils. For the 2011/12 framework the outcome measures span four domains:

Enhancing quality of life for people with care and support needs.
Delaying and reducing the need for care and support.
Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care and support.
Safeguarding adults whose circumstances make them vulnerable and protecting them from avoidable harm.
Paul Najsarek, joint chair of the ADASS Standards and Performance Network, said:

“We all recognise that improvement is driven primarily by strong local leadership and accountability to service users and citizens. This document makes a good start in grounding improvement locally and in the wider adult social care sector.”
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