New ratings system to hold government to account 

An independent evaluation system that will give ratings on the government’s progress against its pledges on health and social care targets is to be piloted.

The process will be carried out by an expert panel established to evaluate a specific policy area, the Health and Social Care Committee (SCC) has announced.

The SCC said the CQC-style process will offer an independent and objective evaluation of ministerial pledges within a system designed to develop and enhance the Health and Social Care Committee’s core task of holding the government to account.

The findings of the panel are expected to feed into on-going inquiries carried out by the SCC and be complementary to its work.

The SCC has announced that the initial pilot will examine progress against targets in maternity services, an area where evaluation is expected to be of particular value.

UNISON assistant general secretary, Christina McAnea, welcomed the plans but warned that the expert panel must include representatives of the health and social care workforce.

‘This should encourage the government to focus on what can actually be delivered for the beleaguered care sector, and less on the headlines to be gained.

‘In recent months there’s often been a gaping chasm between pledges made by ministers and the reality.

‘The government pledged that no care worker would lose out financially if they have to self-isolate or shield. Yet many staff are still having to get by on statutory sick pay of less than £96 a week five months into the pandemic.

‘The same can be said about safety kit and testing. Thousands of care employees still don’t have the right protective equipment and have yet to be offered a test.

‘The committee must ensure that expert contributors to the panel include the representatives of the workforce. They are so often the best judges of what is being delivered in health and social care.’

Jeremy Hunt MP, chair of the Health and Social Care Committee said:  ‘We are piloting a new CQC-style ratings system to provide an expert independent assessment of the government’s record on key pledges.

‘This will mean the government is held to account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system which gives not just an absolute score but key pointers as to how to improve that score next time around.

‘We hope it will focus attention on areas such as cancer, mental health and patient safety where a number of vital commitments have been made.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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