Those local authorities working hard on implementing the Care Act know that section 4 says that
“A local authority must establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to care and support for adults and support for carers.”
Those who have read a little further into section 4 know that this service must provide information and advice across an extensive range of areas, including of course essential information about how the social care system under the Care Act operates in that local authority’s area (s.4(2)).
Having been in the room when several local authorities were struggling with working out how they might go about collecting and co-ordinating all the necessary information I am well aware that this is a demanding new requirement on local authorities. Many authorities have worked hard on innovative ways of drawing together information and have been disseminating their shiny new leaflets, posters, websites and other resources since the beginning of this year.
Not so everywhere however.
Just last month (4 months after the Care Act came into force) a client of one local authority was told that her care package was going to be reviewed and that a new assessment would be carried out under the Care Act. She had the temerity to ask for details of that authority’s assessment process under the Care Act.
The response she received (now framed for posterity on my wall) would seem to me to fall a little short of what the Care Act had in mind. Attached to a copy of her previous assessment, on a compliments slip bearing the local authority’s letterhead were the handwritten words:
“Information re: the Care Act can be found via the internet.”