This chapter is adapted from the Care and Support Statutory Guidance (Department of Health and Social Care). Whilst the statutory duty of providing information and advice lies with the local authority, the principle should be adopted by all agencies working with adults with care and support needs to reflect the spirit of the legislation. This chapter contains sections from the Guidance.
Information and advice is fundamental to enabling people, carers and families to take control of, and make well informed choices about, their care and support and how they fund it. Information and advice helps to promote people’s wellbeing by increasing their ability to exercise choice and control and is a vital component of preventing or delaying people’s need for care and support.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to establish and maintain a service for providing people in their area with information and advice relating to care and support for adults and support for carers. This information and advice service should provide more than just basic information about care and support and cover the range of care and support related areas. The service should also address prevention of care and support needs, finances, health, housing, employment, what to do in cases of abuse or neglect of an adult and other areas where required. This service may be useful for residents and staff to access local information when planning and reviewing care and support.
The service should also provide people who use their services and their families with information and advice.
2. Providing Information and Advice
The service should ensure that all people who use services have access to information and advice, in relation to the individual service, the service and local community based information as applicable.
2.1 Quality of Information and Advice
The service should ensure that information supplied is clear, and will need to ensure that the information and advice is able to be understood and be acted on by those receiving the service.
Information should be accurate, up to date and consistent. Staff providing information and advice should be aware of accessibility issues and be appropriately trained.
The service should ensure that information and advice is available on:
- the individual care and support service –including the assessment process, care and support planning and review, complaints, appeals, independent advocacy, supporting individual wellbeing charging for care and support costs;
- how to access independent financial advice on matters relating to care and support;
- how to raise concerns about the safety or wellbeing of an adult with care and support needs (and also consider how to do the same for a carer with support needs).
The service should ensure that information is as accessible as possible for all potential residents and carers and meet specified standards for websites, printed materials and telephone advice for example and as required under the Equality Act 2010.
Information and advice channels are likely to include all of the following:
- face to face contact;
- advice and advocacy services;
- written leaflets
- the service’s newsletters, where provided;
- the service’s website;
Some groups in need of information and advice about care and support may have particular requirements, including:
- people with sensory impairments, such as visual impairment, deafblind and hearing impaired;
- people who do not have English as a first language;
- people who are socially isolated;
- people whose disabilities limit their physical mobility;
- people with learning disabilities;
- people with mental health problems.
The service should also recognise and respond to the specific requirements that carers have for both general and personal information and advice. A carer’s need for information and advice may be separate and distinct from information and advice for the person for whom they are caring. Staff should be aware of the local service to which they can direct carers for to receive information and advice including:
- breaks from caring;
- the health and wellbeing of carers themselves;
- caring and advice on wider family relationships;
- carers’ financial and legal issues;
- caring and employment;
- caring and education; and,
- a carer’s need for advocacy.
The service has arrangements for dealing with complaints. These include ensuring that those who make complaints receive, as far as reasonably practicable, assistance to enable them to understand the complaints procedure or advice on where to obtain such assistance. See Complaints.