Select Committee on Health Memoranda

Memorandum by the Department of Health


Table 5.5.3



  Authorities in italics in this table are those which made a partial return, for example covering only part of the census week or part of the authority or only some of the Social Work teams. Authorities that made a partial return were: Birmingham, Gloucester, Isles of Scilly, Lancashire, Lewisham and Northampton.


  7.  Since last year's Health Committee report, the Department has produced the analysis of the first comprehensive survey of children in need, which covered a "typical" week in February 2000.

  8.  The survey requested information on numbers of children in need dealt with by social services, and the activity and resource (expenditure) data arising in respect of provision of services for these children. The survey covered children looked after by local authorities and other children in need, referred to in the survey as "children supported in their families or independently".

  9.  Returns were received from all but five authorities (out of 150) for this new survey.

  10.  Because this is the first time this data has become available it is hard to fully evaluate their significance and there are no trends over time upon which to comment. However, these figures show the large volume of activity directed towards the social support of families about which we previously had no information. A much fuller discussion of this data is available in the Children Act Report 2000 which was laid before Parliament on 17 July 2001.

5.6  Variations in service delivery

  Could the Department provide figures showing how the delivery of non-residential social services has changed over the last 5 years and comment on these trends?

  1.  Table 5.6.1 presents information on home help/care, meals services and day centre provision for the period from 1995 to 2000. Information is derived from the statistical collections for a sample week in September/October each year. Fuller information is published in the statistical publication Community Care Statistics 2000 Home Care/home help services for adults, England which is available at


  2.  Between 1995 and 2000 the total number of contact hours provided during the survey week increased by around 17 per cent, from 2.4 million to 2.8 million hours. By contrast, the number of households receiving home help/care dropped from around 514,000 in 1995 to around 398,000 in 2000 suggesting a more intensive service is being provided to fewer households. The increase in the provision of home help/home care services was in the independent sector, whilst, correspondingly, the number of contact hours provided directly by Local Authorities has fallen by 27 per cent. This emphasises that Local Authorities are continuing to make more use of the independent sector.

  3.  In 2000, 36 per cent of households received a fairly intensive service of home care (of more than 5 hours and 6 or more visits), compared to 21 per cent in 1995. The proportion of households receiving a "low" intensity service (just one visit lasting less than 2 hours) was around 32 per cent in 1995, dropping to 19 per cent in 2000.


  4.  The total number of meals provided (either in luncheon clubs, day centres or to clients' own homes) fell from 1995 to 1998, with just over a million meals being provided in 1998. Similarly, the number of people receiving meals dropped over the period from just over 267,000 in 1995 to 248,000 in 1997. (The number of meals served at luncheon clubs was not collected in 1998, therefore comparable figures for 1998 are unavailable). The number of meals served to clients' homes in 1998 was 180,000. The Local Authority sector accounted for the majority of all meals provided—60 per cent in 1998. However, the proportion of meals supplied by the independent sector increased from 37 per cent in 1995 to 40 per cent in 1998. Collection of this information was discontinued from 1998.


  5.  The number of available day centre places (days per week) increased by 3 per cent from 602,000 in 1994 to 621,000 in 1997. The 683,000 day centres places for 1998 included day care facilities within residential accommodation which also catered for non-residents. The figures for 1998 are not directly comparable with earlier years. The number of attendances at day centres increased from around 464,000 in 1995 to 469,000 in 1997, the last year for which information on attendances was collected. For 1998, this information was replaced by data on the number of clients attending day centres during the survey week, which for 1998 was 253,000. From 1995 to 1998, the Local Authority share of places provision dropped steadily from 82 per cent to 74 per cent of the total, with a corresponding increase in the number of places provided by the independent sector. Collection of this information was discontinued from 1998.


  6.  A new data collection on Referrals, Assessments and Packages of care (RAP) for all adults has been introduced. This collection provides better, more client- focused, aggregated information on the numbers of clients receiving services provided or commissioned by Councils with Social Services Responsibility. Dress rehearsal data has been collected and published on an annual basis for the full 12 months for the year ending 31 March 2000 and is presented in Table 5.6.2. In 1999-2000 an estimated 1.5 million service users were receiving community-based care.

  7.  Although RAP gives an indication of the number of people receiving non-residential services—which are termed community-based services, it does not provide details of which sector provided the service. It should be noted that the dress rehearsal data is incomplete and there are concerns about the accuracy of this information. The information from RAP on home care/meals and day care is not directly comparable with information from other collections on home help/home care, day care and meals.

Table 5.6.1



  1  Data are collected on DH annual returns HH1 (home help/care), MS1 (meals service) and DC3 (day centres) for a survey WEEK during the Autumn. The figures are shown rounded to the nearest hundred. Components may not therefore add to the totals. Returns MS1 and DC3 ceased to be collected from 1999.

  2  Meals to peoples' homes as meals-on-wheels, at luncheon clubs, or at day centres.

  3  Figures are whole-day equivalent places. 1998 data now includes day care facilites within residential accommodation which also cater for non-residents.

  4  For 1998, this refers to the number of people receiving meals at home only.

  5  In 1998, a change of collection occurred for day centres, attendees are now collected as opposed to attendances.

  - Not applicable.

  .. No longer collected.

  R Revised Data.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 17 January 2002