National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2012/2013
social care cropped

NICE prepares for social care

From April 2013, NICE became known as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and officially began producing guidance and quality standards for the social care sector, as outlined in the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012.

This is a significant change, and one that reflects the growing recognition that in order to improve the quality of care, and to make budgets go further, greater integration of services across health and social care is necessary.

In preparation, NICE put out for consultation two quality standards as part of a pilot programme for social care and based on guidelines produced on the wellbeing of people living with dementia and the care of looked-after children and young people.

The pilot standards, published in August 2012, have provided a valuable opportunity to test out our methods and processes prior to developing the full programme of quality standards from April 2013.

The topics referred from the Department of Health and Department for Education for NICE to begin work on from April 2013 are;

  • autism in adults and children
  • mental well-being of older people in residential care
  • the transition between health and social care
  • managing medicines in care homes
  • domiciliary care
  • transition from children’s to adults’ services
  • child abuse and neglect
  • children’s attachment

The care and wellbeing of adults and children with autism, and the mental wellbeing of older people in residential care are the first topics that quality standards will be developed on.

These standards will be based on accredited guidance, which includes NICE clinical guidelines and public health guidance.

Following this, NICE will produce a number of quality standards on topics where no current health or social care guidance exists. This means that NICE will first produce new guidance recommendations on these topics before developing the associated quality standards.

In January 2013, NICE's move into social care was welcomed by the House of Commons Health Select Committee, following an inquiry into the work of the Institute.

The Health Select Committee report welcomed the fact that NICE is to take on responsibility for producing clinical guidance and quality standards in relation to social care and believes that there is a real opportunity for NICE to help evolve a different model of care by creating integrated standards and clinical guidance.

A Collaborating Centre for Social Care

In January 2013, NICE awarded a contract to the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), and its partner organisations, to support the development of guidance and the adoption and dissemination of guidance and quality standards from 1 April, as the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care.

The NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care will use NICE's methods and processes to develop social care guidance for NICE, which NICE will use as a basis for its quality standards for social care. The Centre will also support the adoption and dissemination of these quality standards.

NICE will commission its Collaborating Centre for Social Care to develop its social care guidance on up to six topics at a time. The scheduling of these topics is currently underway.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE said: “We are very pleased to work with SCIE and its partner organisations in a formal capacity as our NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care.

“With SCIE's track-record in promoting and facilitating quality improvement and information-sharing across the UK's care services, we are confident that they have the relevant expertise to support us in this new and important area of work.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of SCIE, added: “SCIE and our partners are delighted to be taking on this exciting new project. It is vital that people who use, manage and commission care services have reliable evidence and guidance on which to base their decisions. The NICE Collaborating Centre will be essential to ensuring this happens.

“Locating the Centre at SCIE will enable us to link the work of the Centre with our other activities. We have brought together some of the most respected and experienced research and implementation support agencies to provide the sector with practical, evidence-based guidance and support. Our immediate priority is to ensure that we have systems in place to make the Centre fully operational by April 2013.”

The contract has been awarded to SCIE and its partner organisations for three years following an open procurement process.

SCIE's partner organisations are; Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre), The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Kent, Research in Practice (RIP), and Research in Practice for Adults (RIPfA).

In order to improve the quality of care, and to make budgets go further, greater integration of services across health and social care is necessary