Report cover - older woman on the telephone

There is a great difference in experience between those older people and their families who are able to access information and advice on social care and those who are not. The social care system can be very complicated. Older people and their families need to know what their rights and obligations are if they are going to be able to make the best decision for themselves.

This report, commissioned by Independent Age from Qa research, looks at how local authorities in England are carrying out their new information and advice duties under the Care Act 2014. These new duties include the need for local authorities to provide information on how to access services and available support for carers. Qa research carried out testing of local authority websites, including user testing with older people (70+), and a 'mystery shopping' test in which researchers asked local authorities questions by telephone about adult social care. 

Findings

  • The majority of councils are providing a minimum level of information and advice online 
  • However, 70% could not demonstrate they are providing online information in all the areas required of them as part of the Care Act 
  • A total of 52% of local authorities provided a good response to telephone enquiries although 34% did not provide a satisfactory response.

Where there is good practice we encourage local authorities and other professionals to learn from what works for older people and replicate this. At a minimum local authorities need to fulfil their new legal obligations concerning information and advice under the Care Act. We know, from our own advice line, how so many difficulties older people and their families face could have been avoided if information and advice had been made available earlier. We hope this report will help improve performance in this area.