The Department of Health (DH) has launched Transparency in outcomes: a framework for adult social care, a consultation on proposals. The consultation proposes “a new strategy for transparency, quality and outcomes in adult social care”.

The strategy has three main themes:  

  • outcomes;
  • quality of services; and
  • transparency.

The elements of the strategy include:  

  • defining high quality social care;
  • establishing a set of data to help councils to demonstrate progress;
  • transparency; ensuring that information about quality of social care and outcomes are openly available
  • promoting improvement in quality which is service led; and
  • ensuring quality and safety standards form the foundation for service provision.

The detail of the proposals includes  

  • the expansion of the role of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to include adult social care from 2012/13;
  • the production by NICE of quality standards for social care, with the first standards being produced by 2012/13;
  • local Government and social care sectors working together to identify areas for quality standards;
  • the production of a single “quality and outcomes data set” with the aim of reducing overall reporting burdens on councils;
  • no targets or league tables, with the current assessment of councils as commissioners of adult social care being replaced by a more proportionate, sector led approach;
  • councils to review all data requirements with the aim of reducing the data collection burden from April 2012;
  • the production of a set of outcome measures to be obtained from the available data to assist councils to bench mark their results;
  • the publication of all social care data;
  • local reporting to replace the Care Quality Commission’s annual assessment of councils as commissioners from 2011/12;
  • the new “excellence “ rating for social care providers will act as a maker of best practice and quality; and
  • the role of the Care Quality Commission is to be refocused as an effective quality inspectorate.  

The consultation closes on 9 February 2011 and responses to the detailed proposals can be sent to qualityandoutcomes@dh.gsi.gov.uk.