Fears over vetting for ‘one- stop shop’ children’s services
CONCERNS have been raised over how children’s services providers are vetted before being included on a signposting website launched by Rochdale Council and health chiefs.
Our Rochdale was set up by Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Care Commissioning Group (CCG) and the council in March as a way of creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for people to find out about health and social care providers.
It refers residents to council services and the authority’s website will also direct them to Our Rochdale. Providers can upload their service details to the directory for free, which is then vetted before appearing on the website itself. There are currently around 1,500 entries on the site which receives in the region of 35,000 hits every month from just under 7,000 users.
But councillors raised questions over vetting and the ‘robustness’ of the site upon receiving a presentation from Mark Hicks, an IT manager at the CCG. Councillor Janet Emsley said: “I can understand how you can say that, for example, an optician is qualified to provide a service, but how do you know that for somebody who is providing a play centre. Who is accrediting the play centres? I understand childminders have to be done my certification, and I understand opticians and dentistry, but I don’t understand how you are quality assuring these services.”
Mr Hicks told the meeting that children’s services were already on the site under its previous guise as the Family Services directory before it was extended to include health and well-being information. He said: “The family services team are the people that provide the administration for the site so, of the content that is on there, the family services and children’s related stuff, is the most mature and strongest content on the site. Because the owners of that service are also the custodians of the site, they are already aware of the quality of any play scheme submitted.”
He added: “I’m not quite sure what process is applied, it might just be based on their local knowledge so they say ‘yes, we know that’s a good local service so we’ll include it,or ‘we’ve never heard of this one, let’s do some extra checks’.”