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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The premise of this Question is wrong. In 2008, 79 per cent of children reached or exceeded level 4+, the expected level in key stage 2 (20 per cent more than in 1998 and 2 per cent more than in 2007). An additional 15 per cent of pupils achieved level 3 in 2008 and it would be wrong to suggest that a child achieving this level does not have a secure grasp of basic mathematical skills. At level 3, a pupil has a range of mathematical skills; for example the ability to solve whole number problems involving multiplication and division, use simple fractions, recognise negative numbers and extract and interpret data from simple tables and lists.
In 2008, fewer than 36,000 children (less than 6 per cent of pupils) failed to reach level 3 at KS2. For these children, the department is rolling out new programmes to raise standards in maths. The Every Child Counts intensive intervention programme targets the lowest attaining 5 per cent of pupils and will have national coverage from September 2010.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Monitoring of adult social services' efficiency in England is undertaken by a number of organisations: the Care Quality Commission (CQC), as part of its role as the independent health and social care regulator, the Audit Commission, and the Department of Health.
The CQC was established by the Health and Social Care Act (2008) and replaced the Commission for Social Care Inspection, as well as the regulators for healthcare and the Mental Health Act. Under the provisions of the 2008 Act, the CQC carries out a number of activities related to the regulation of local health and social care services, including registration of providers to ensure minimum quality standards are met, regular reviews of providers and commissioners of services, and inspections of particular care services.
The CQC undertakes periodic reviews of all local authority adult social services, and publishes its assessment of the quality of those services, and their capacity to deliver improved outcomes for local people. This judgment includes a specific criterion on the local authority's efficient use of resources to meet the needs of its local community.
The CQC's assessment of adult social care is further used as part of the evidence base for the annual comprehensive area assessment (CAA) published by the Audit Commission. The CAA, which will be published for the first time in October 2009, brings together the assessments of six national regulators to form an overall judgment of the delivery of public services in a locality. It will publish an area assessment (providing an overall judgment on the locality) and an additional organisational assessment of the local authority management. This latter assessment will make a scored judgment on two corporate areas: managing performance and use of resources, and so will contribute towards the checks on efficiency in adult social care.
The Department of Health also works to support efficiency in adult social care, and has put in place a number of programmes to help local authorities achieve efficiencies. For instance, the Care Services Efficiency Delivery programme has invested about £5 million per year to specifically support the local efficiency agenda through working with local authorities to improve planning and procurement, developing more efficient systems for the assessment and delivery of care with a strong focus on re-ablement and recovery. Additionally,
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The regulation of adult social care providers is now the responsibility of the new independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission, which took over from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission on 1 April 2009. The new commission will take a risk-based proportionate approach to its regulatory role.
National minimum standards for domiciliary care providers recognise that people want care workers who are reliable, dependable and arrive and depart at the time expected. They specify that care staff should arrive at the home of the person using the service within the time band specified and work for the full time allocated. They also say that people who use services should be kept informed about their care and told in advance of any changes.
If any agency fails to meet its obligations contained in service specific regulations in relation to operation and the care of its customers, the commission will consider if a prosecution is suitable and in the public interest.
Separately, the commission may also consider the viability of continued registration of the provider. The provision of inaccurate information to the commission would be a serious matter, which would be considered in the context of the case and the overall safety of people using services.
From April 2010, we are introducing a new registration framework for providers of regulated health and adult social care activities. We are currently consulting on a number of policy issues to support the new framework, including what incidents should require notification to the commission. We are intending to set out the categories of information that providers will need to supply to the commission in regulations which we will put before Parliament later this year. The Care Quality Commission will be able to take enforcement action against providers of regulated activities who do not meet the requirements.
We have no specific plans to make the reporting of all missed visits by social care workers mandatory at this time. However, the proposals in the consultation for incidents that require notification include:an allegation that a person who uses services has been abused;an incident which is reported to, or investigated by, the police and involves the health and well-being of people who use services; andan allegation of misconduct in relation to registration requirements against a person working for the purpose of carrying out a regulated activity.
In addition, all providers of regulated activities will need to meet a set of registration requirements in order to register with the Care Quality Commission, and to maintain registration. These include requirements to treat people with dignity and respect, keeping records of the provision of care and treatment, and involving people in making informed decisions about their care and treatment.
Where providers are not meeting the registration requirements, the commission will have the flexibility to use its independent enforcement powers to bring poor providers back into compliance or to prevent people who use services from being exposed to serious risk of harm.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Inspection of adult social care providers is now the responsibility of the new independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission, which took over from the Commission
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|Social care inspectors employed by the Care Quality Commission|
Lord Darzi of Denham: The regulation of adult social care providers is now the responsibility of the new independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission, which took over from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission on 1 April 2009.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The General Social Care Council (GSCC) was established under the Care Standards Act 2000 as the regulator for social care workers in England. Similar bodies have been established in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The functions of the GSCC are to promote high standards of conduct and practice among social care workers and high standards in training. The council has wide general powers to enable it to carry out these functions effectively, efficiently and economically subject to any directions or guidance from the Secretary of State. It is specifically required to maintain a register of social workers and such social care workers as are specified in regulations. Currently the council registers social workers, including visiting social workers from relevant European states, and student social workers.
The council is required to grant applications for registration if they are satisfied of the applicant's good character and fitness to perform the work required and may require certain training conditions to be fulfilled and impose other conditions relating to conduct and competence. It has powers to register applicants unconditionally or subject to conditions or refuse applications. It may also remove or suspend applicants from the register and can restore registrations.
The council is required to make rules about the requirements for application to and removal from the register and the maintenance of the register. It may also make rules relating to requirements as to conduct and competence, the approval of courses in relevant social work, further training and training for social care workers, and the visiting of places at which relevant courses are given or examinations held. Rules made by the council which may make provision for the payment of fees must be made with the consent of the Secretary of State.
The council is, subject to appropriate consultation, also required to prepare, publish and keep under review codes of practice for social care workers and their employers or those seeking to employ them. These codes may also include social workers when carrying out the functions of approved mental health professionals.
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