Eight local authorities have been named and shamed by regulators over the quality of their adult social care.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said a third of councils must improve their ability to care for people with dignity and respect while one in four was rated as only adequate in terms of giving people choice and control over their care. Too many councils were purchasing a significant proportion of residential and nursing home care from providers rated as poor or adequate, the report warned.
The commission also inspected 24,000 care homes, home care agencies, nursing agencies and other care providers and found that one in six was poor or adequate. Care homes and agencies were most likely to breach basic standards of care such as managing medication and planning individuals' care. In care homes for older people, one in five providers failed to meet the standard on social contact and activities, the CQC said.
In its first major statement on the quality of adult social care in England, the CQC told the eight councils rated as "adequate" that they must make improvements. These were: Bromley, Cornwall, Peterborough, Poole, Solihull, South Tyneside, Southwark, and Surrey. Cynthia Bower, CQC chief executive, said: "It is striking that many of the issues of most concern to the public – such as dignity – are not necessarily things that cost a lot of money to put right. So there is clearly room to continue improving services, despite the tough economic backdrop." Stephen O'Brien, the Conservatives' health spokesman, said: "This report exposes just how far we have to go to improve care for the elderly."