Care services performing well

SUFFOLK's social care services have been given top marks in the latest government ratings.The county council's social care services have been awarded three stars and rated excellent by the Commission for Social Inspection.

SUFFOLK's social care services have been given top marks in the latest government ratings.

The county council's social care services have been awarded three stars and rated excellent by the Commission for Social Inspection.

Suffolk is one of only two councils in the region to get top marks - alongside Thurrock council in South Essex.

Adult care spokeswoman Jane Midwood said: "Suffolk County Council supports some of the most vulnerable people in our county.

“This endorsement by the inspectors, that we have improved on that service for the second year running, is fantastic.

“I want to congratulate all of the social care staff, who work together to help others who are less independent. The improvement in our service rating is down to their hard work.”

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The announcement comes as the county prepares to review its residential care services.

Suffolk currently buys 84 per cent of its care places from private care homes and runs 17 residential care homes for older people.

The report looks at different options for residential care services in the county to ensure a quality service is maintained for years to come.

The consultation will also take into account the projected growth in demand for services in the future as well as considering the funding available.

The over-65 population in Suffolk is forecast to increase by more than 30 per cent in the next 10 years.

Mrs Midwood said: "The future needs of Suffolk's ageing population are at the heart of this report. It is important that we look ahead, talk to people and make our plans now."

Options initially identified include:

nKeeping things as they are. The council could continue to buy 84pc of the residential care it needs from independent providers and the remaining 16pc provided through its own 17 homes.

nPrivatising all homes owned by the council through a tender process.

nExploring a partnership arrangement whereby the council leases the homes to an independent provider, which could either be a "not-for-profit" organisation or a private provider.

nChanging what services council homes provide, identifying funding for alternative types of provision, or negotiating with the independent sector.

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