Social services no better than last year

SOCIAL care services in Suffolk have failed to improve on last year's disappointing one star rating.Around £200 million pounds worth of tax payers money is poured into the whole of the department in Suffolk every year but they could still do with a better rating.

SOCIAL care services in Suffolk have failed to improve on last year's disappointing one star rating.

Around £200 million pounds worth of tax payers money is poured into the whole of the department in Suffolk every year but they could still do with a better rating.

A national report published today showed that despite an extra £7.7 million ploughed into the county's social care services, performances have not been good enough to warrant another star.

Plans are to pour another £18 million into the services from April 2003 to April 2004 after ratings from April 2002 to April 2003 showed it has been failing some people. Just one star had been given out of a rating that ranged from zero to three.


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Key areas needing improvement are assessing the needs of problem families within a shorter time scale and to speed up the time it takes to assess and deliver services to older people in the community.

Anthony Douglas, director of social care and health services in Suffolk, was confident services would improve and said progress had already been made.

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He said: "We are disappointed that the star rating is not better but we have made a tremendous number of improvements.

"We made massive improvements in children's services in a year.

"We have some impressive achievements in supporting more older people this year.

"Having balanced the budget we know exactly how we will make faster progress on delivering better services more efficiently to all local people who need them.

"We readily accept we have a great deal of work to do, but it is well underway with major efficiency improvements planned and budgeted for."

Social care services invested £1 million to help look after 400 more older people in their own home but have bettered this target and helped an extra 700 people.

Investments have been made in more fostering and family placements, rather than expensive agency placements outside Suffolk. These expensive placements have now dropped from 136 to 95 in a year.

Numbers of children in care have dwindled from over 700 to 660, with more to come thanks to more specialist staff who can intervene earlier to stop situations reach crisis point.

The council supports 61 people out of every 1,000 residents over 65 years compared to just 55 a year ago. Small items of equipment reach people within three weeks 82 percent of the time.

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