3 December 2009

Oh dear, another disappointing report on public services in Cornwall. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its findings on the adult social services of 148 councils in England for the year ending March 2009. For the third year running Cornwall’s overall assessment is “adequate” for delivering outcomes. Adequate means, the CQC says, “only delivering the minimum requirements for people”. Note that there are two aspects of the work where the assessment for Cornwall is “performing well”.

Continued performance at this overall level — adequate, only delivering minimum requirements — for three years is not acceptable. The council should show the transparency and openness the Conservatives promised (see Minutes of Cornwall Council AGM for June 2009, item CC/10) and explain why only adequate and what is being done and will be done to make sure there is marked and continuing improvement. External help will be forthcoming. If necessary improvements come at a price, the council should be candid about that; I think most people in Cornwall would be willing to pay such a price.

Put alongside the recent report on the safety of children in care in Cornwall which has led to government intervention, it raises difficult questions about some aspects of social services in Cornwall. The new unitary council faces serious challenges. If it cannot deliver, others will have to.

The adult social care report, published December 2009, is here.