A Social Services Inspectorate review of the effectiveness of services for people who are detained in psychiatric hospitals reveals a catalogue of shortcomings, including a severe shortage of black and Asian social workers.The survey of 10 local authorities across England reveals that management oversight varied considerably from authority to authority, case recording was 'often poor'and links between mental health and children's services in councils were 'tenuous'.Access to information, language interpretation services and a lack of alternatives to hospital admission were also raised as concerns, along with a failure to include carers in discussions about treatment and care.Joint working between agencies was considered 'generally good', but information systems were 'often poor quality and confusing'.

www.doh.gov.uk/scg/social.htm