Councils failing to meet a Care Act duty....

Care Adviser Network response to an article by Simon Bottery, Independent Age.

This is valuable Simon, thank you. I would like to pick up two of the points made by the research.

1. “Inconsistency in the mix of staff who took calls” and

2. “some were not experienced enough to provide information on complex topics such as the funding of care”.

1. “Inconsistency in the mix of staff who took calls” and

It is no surprise that information and advice provided is variable with 152 Local Authorities and 1.5 million Adult Social Care staff (1), 1.7 million NHS workers seeing 1 million patients every 36 hours (2) providing it (and still McDonalds employs more people worldwide)

Scaling this down, if you phone my home and speak to my two children, chances are I will receive two totally different messages, however hard I try to implement a script and recording policy!

In any organisation it will be true that there is a mix of knowledge and experience but with an overall turnover rate in Adult Social Care of 25.4% (equating to around 300,000 workers leaving their role each year) we must encourage new, inexperienced staff to develop and maintain knowledge to a recognised standard before asking them to be all things to all people.

Local Authorities and other organisations are working hard on ‘pathways’ but with a variety of sources, people often relying on others to find out what they need to know, at a time of crisis and without any previous experience of the care or benefit systems it is difficult to know who to rely on for accurate information when asked to make difficult and sometimes life changing decisions

To provide consistency across a range of providers, one standard is essential for people to easily identify and access those who can provide quality assured information and advice. The SOLLA Care Advice Standard provides this recognisable standard.

2. “some were not experienced enough to provide information on complex topics such as the funding of care”.

Funding care IS a very complex area! One that requires knowledge and experience as well as an understanding of the importance of specialist financial advice, the various options and with due consideration to the implications of a chosen course of action.

We can't expect all staff to do be all things to all people. The NHS Confederations ‘Growing old together’ report recognises “the importance of having a single connection within a complex system” but is it realistic to limit the gateway to information?

Local Authorities know that they must not rely on ‘menu driven’ information. However useful (or not) user friendly, searchable websites are they will trigger questions and a need for guidance.

It IS possible to provide a single approach to care navigation without restricting access to information and advice, with trained ‘Care Navigators’ who have achieved a recognisable standard

Together with web based information this provides a ‘search and rescue’ approach that does not need to cost a fortune. We are working with Local Authorities on self-sufficient, potentially chargeable services that do exactly that….

(1) Skills for Care – State of Adult Social Care March 2015 (2) NHS Confederation – Key statistics Jan 2016


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