Inspection body rates Hertfordshire County Council’s adult social care provision as good

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Hertfordshire County Council has been handed a ‘good’ rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for its adult social care services

The inspection body looked at nine areas to assess how well the authority is meeting its responsibilities. Each area was given a score out of four with one being ‘evidence shows significant shortfalls’, and four ‘showing an exceptional standard’. Eight out of nine areas were rated three which translates to ‘evidence shows a good standard’. The area of ‘partnership and communities’ was rated four.

CQC chief inspector James Bullion described the county council as ‘a strong leadership team’ with a good understanding of the adult social care needs of residents.

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He explained: “They were supported by committed and passionate staff who were delivering services that people generally spoke positively about to CQC. People told us that front line staff listened to them, understood their needs and developed care plans which reflected these. Staff were also aware of the needs of different community groups and had access to interpreters and translation teams where needed.

The county council's adult social care provision has been rated as 'good' by the CQC.The county council's adult social care provision has been rated as 'good' by the CQC.
The county council's adult social care provision has been rated as 'good' by the CQC.

“We also heard similarly positive feedback from carers who told us their needs were assessed separately to the people they cared for and they were given good support when they accessed it. Although more could be done to help mitigate the impact unpaid caring responsibilities had on people’s own employment and financial situations.”

Inspectors observed there were ‘pockets of deprivation’ in the mostly affluent county and noted staff had a good understanding of its impact and, as such, were rolling out a new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy. This also aims to better cater for the 28 per cent of people in the county who don’t describe themselves as ‘white British’.

They said a new service to provide initial assessments and support for those needing formal support helped reduced demand on the local healthcare system. Other strategies, including supported accommodation for the anticipated higher number of adults with a learning disability aged 65 and over, meant the authority was planning ahead for the impact of ‘changing demographics’.

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However, weaker areas particularly around waiting lists, were observed.

Mr Bullion added: “we did see waiting lists for assessments in all areas which was linked to a 10% increase in support requests in the last year. We saw the authority had a clear plan in place to reduce these and was already taking action which was having a positive impact. They were also monitoring people who were waiting for support carefully, to make sure they were safe whilst waiting and their care needs hadn’t escalated.

“They knew they could be doing more to understand and reduce inequalities in outcomes. They had launched a new strategy, but not all senior staff were clear yet about the focus, and this needs time to embed.

“Overall, Hertfordshire County Council should be really pleased with this assessment. They’ve built a great foundation on which to build their future plans and make improvements. We look forward to returning to see how they’ve done this and how their current plans mature.”

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Councillor Tony Kingsbury, Executive Member for Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing at Hertfordshire County Council, said the CQC’s assessment reflects the commitment of our dedicated and skilled staff.

"They work hard to create a place where people can lead healthy, fulfilling and self-supporting lives, making sure that people are at the centre of their care and support, when they need it,” he said.

"Like all public services, we face challenges and there’s always room for improvement. The CQC assessment has given us an opportunity to get focused feedback about where we provide a good service for adults in Hertfordshire and how we can continue to learn and improve.”

The assessment can be found on the CQC website.