This paper describes the quality assurance system for long-term care services in Latvia. Policy planning for long-term care is undertaken by the Ministry of Welfare and the municipalities. Monitoring takes place at three levels: by the ministry, the municipalities and social service providers themselves. The legislation sets out requirements for social service providers and the evaluation of quality standards against a few criteria. The degree to which institutions attain the quality standards is assessed in three-level rating system (on the satisfaction of requirements), but the qualitative results are not publicly available.
During 2011, a new system was developed and introduced for social service providers to evaluate the quality of their services themselves. This new self-evaluation system is based on the Common Assessment Framework of the European Institute of Public Administration, and provides comparable quality indicators across social service providers. At present, self-evaluation is voluntary, but in light of its superiority compared with the existing system for monitoring quality, self-evaluation is expected to replace it.
Baiba Plakane is an independent, Latvian project manager, and is temporarily under contract to the staff of the PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies, Tallinn.