Next Wednesday, 26 February 2020, is significant not just because it marks 90 years since New York City first installed traffic lights, or because it will be Michael Bolton’s 67th birthday, it is also the day on which we will be revealing our latest list of the highest performing councils in relation to adult social care.
This is the third time we have embarked on this exercise and this year it will look rather different. Over recent months, we have worked with a group of Directors of Adult Social Services to help us improve the way we evaluate performance using the IMPOWER INDEX and refine the measures we use. The indicators we use now better reflect the areas of performance considered by many in the sector to be most important.
It is clear that DASSs want to be able to better understand what they are achieving for the money they spend. They want to learn from this and make conscious strategic decisions about the balance between spend and outcomes, and to confidently argue the case for additional funding. Our list is a step towards being able to achieve those aims. The review of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care is another useful step towards these objectives.
The main changes we have made to our analysis are:
- Sustainable performance is being rewarded. Getting value for money for a year is an achievement, yet short-term and short-sighted decisions can have a negative impact on outcome productivity (outcomes achieved per pound invested) in the medium term. IMPOWER’s interest in sustainable improvement means that we now look at council performance over three years in terms of outcomes achieved per pound spent. We have also included an assessment of financial grip for the first time.
- We have adjusted the indicators to place greater emphasis on prevention and quality of life. We have adjusted a number of the indicators we use. For example, we now include a new measure on resident well-being, and have expanded the components that constitute a good quality of life for younger adults.
- We are no longer publishing a top 10. While we will no longer produce a list of the Top 10 councils, we will be publishing (in alphabetical order rather than ranked) a list of 15 councils from the ‘high outcomes, low spend’ quadrant of our scatter graph.
As in previous years, we won’t be publishing the full list, as we have no interest in naming and shaming. Our intention is to use our analysis to inspire learning and improvement, and to celebrate the highest performing councils.
We still don’t claim to have created the definitive tool for assessing ‘what good looks like’ in adult social care but we are confident that this year’s iteration more closely mirrors what is valued within the sector. Keep an eye out for the big reveal on 26th February via The MJ. Feel free to listen to Michael Bolton at the traffic lights in the meantime.