We will improve both information and advice to help people who use services, their carers and families to be:
- better informed
- more in control
- more confident about what care and support they are entitled to
From April 2013, for the first time there will be a national website that covers care and support, public health and the NHS. It will provide a clear and reliable source of information that will help people to understand and find out what resources are available to help them live independently, such as services, organisations and community-based support.
This information and advice will help people to:
- understand the benefits of prevention and early intervention measures, and how they can act on them
- be more aware of what they can do to plan financially from an early stage, and where to access individual advice
- judge the quality of care providers and the care and support options they offer, through clear comparative information that empowers people to make informed decisions
- comment on their experiences, and raise concerns if they have them, of care and support through new and existing feedback websites
For those who do not have access to online information, the NHS 111 number is a free, national telephone service that will provide advice on health and care and will signpost those that may also have social care needs to their local authority.
The new legal framework, set out in the draft care and support Bill, will require local authorities to provide an information and advice service on care and support, focusing on helping people to understand how the system works, what services are available locally, and how to access the services they need now and in the future.
We will provide £32.5 million of start up funding over 2 years from 2014/15 to support local authorities to develop better online information about local care and support options and services such as self-assessments.
These online services will be linked to Service Directories, which provide information on local and national care providers. This will improve the responsible sharing of people’s personal information, assessments of need and care plans, with service users, families and carers, as well as relevant organisations and professions. This will also support the work to provide a more joined up service described in the Department of Health’s recently published Information Strategy, which says that people should not have to give the same information each time they come into contact with health and care services.
The government will also provide annual funding to local authorities to help them increase the level of independently provided advice and support in their areas. This will help people who are eligible for support from their local authority to develop their care and support plan and choose how their needs could be met. The government will work with the voluntary and independent sector, and local authorities, to help develop new models of advice and support, building on peer networks, user and carer-led organisations, and community-based resources.
Commissioners of services will also benefit from better information. They will have access to better aggregated data through people’s online assessments and will be able to collect and collate information on providers that make up their local market. This improved knowledge and understanding will help them:
- make sure that the care and support that people need is available, and delivered in a way that people want
- support local improvements led by the care sector
- focus priorities for the local area working with their partners