The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework 2013/14
Care and support is something which affects us all. We all know someone, a family member or friend, who needs some extra support to lead a full and active life. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework measures how well that support achieves the things we would expect for ourselves and for our friends and relatives – care that treats people with dignity and respect, and that supports them to keep well and independent, and able to play an active role in their communities. People who use care and support, carers and the public can use this information to see how well their council is performing, making local authorities genuinely answerable to their communities for the quality of care. Councils themselves use the measures to help them drive up standards of care, and give people genuine choice and control over the services they use.
Our care and support system is in need of reform. Too often, the system reacts only to a crisis, instead of intervening early enough to support people to remain independent and healthy. While there are many examples of innovation and high quality care, not all care is good, with variable quality and access to care across the country. Furthermore, our growing and ageing population will only increase the pressures on the system. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF), with its clear focus on promoting people’s quality of life and their experience of care, and on care and support that is both personalised and preventative, is a key tool to track progress locally and nationally towards the transformation of care and support.
The ASCOF, co-produced with local government, was first introduced in 2011/12. This autumn, adult social care outcomes measures for 2011/12 were published. This marks a significant step towards building a national picture of the progress and performance of the adult social care system.
Despite evidence of progress, there is scope to go further and faster in ensuring that everyone who uses care receives the best possible support. Overall, there has been an encouraging increase in the use of personal budgets by users of care and carers, but this masks significant differences locally in the numbers of people who receive personal budgets. While it is positive that nearly two thirds of users of care say they are extremely or very satisfied with their care and support, this leaves scope to do more to ensure that everyone has a good experience. This is especially true for older people, who on average are less satisfied with their care and support than the younger adult population. There is also scope to do more to enhance the quality of life of people with a learning disability and mental health problems, to ensure they are supported to live full and independent lives.