Local councils are improving their adult social care but need to pick up the pace, a watchdog has said.

The Audit Commission, which fights for efficiency and effectiveness in public services, has released a briefing paper - Improving Value for Money in Adult Social Care - spelling out nine areas for improvement.

Most councils have made improvements in some of the areas but none have improved in all of them, the commission said.

Audit Commission managing director for health Andy McKeon said: “Social care services have seen an increase in demand because of an ageing population and because people with learning disabilities are living longer.

“We are pleased to see that councils have reacted to these pressures and started to change the way they operate, by giving more people personal budgets and spending more on prevention.

“But the pressures on councils are growing.

“They have many competing demands on their finances and, over time, more and more people will need their help.

“Small, tried and tested improvements will help to make savings in the short term and there are opportunities to do this.

“But councils also need to look more widely to deliver greater savings and make a real difference to people’s lives in the longer term.”

A copy of Improving Value for Money in Adult Social Care can be found at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/embargoasc.