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Improving adult social care from within

This week the LGA published our research into the England-wide approach to sector-led improvement activity in adult social care. This is delivered through a programme called Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care, or TEASC.

Specifically, we were looking at the peer review and support elements of the TEASC programme, where a team of professionals working within adult social care or a related areas come together to look at various aspects of an authority’s adult social care service. The specific scope of the review is decided with input from the authority and can be shaped to meet their needs.

We found that the TEASC approach had been widely adopted across the country, and that many regions had made a commitment for 100% delivery of peer reviews for all authorities. The peer review system also had the widespread confidence of professionals working within the sector. Reasons for this included the bespoke nature of peer review and the fact that both the review team and the host authority are able to learn from it.

We looked at whether the TEASC peer review could be linked to accountability, but found limited evidence for this. However, we did see some evidence or peer review strengthening accountability, particularly where Experts by Experience (people who have been carers or used services themselves) were included on the peer review team.

We also saw some examples of TEASC and peer review helping authorities and the wider sector to manage risk, including the use of performance data and the development in some regions of ‘risk-radar’ monitoring systems.

However, in line with the LGA’s recent research into the future of sector-led improvement, some people thought that the TEASC approach could be even further strengthened with a little more ‘grit’ or ‘bite’. One reason for this was that the voluntary nature of TEASC means that an authority in danger of underperforming is under no obligation to put themselves forward for a peer review.

Our research will feed into a wider ongoing discussion in the local government sector about where sector-led improvement should go next. The results of their recent consultation with the sector can be found here, and our evaluation of the TEASC programme can be found here.

For more information on our work on health and wellbeing and local government, please contact 020 7756 7600.

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