What is the toolkit and who can use it?
This toolkit has been produced to help local areas address the requirements of the Care Act and associated statutory guidance in relation to the provision of information and advice. It is geared towards officers and especially council officers responsible for reviewing information and advice, and for developing a new strategy. The toolkit will also be of interest to all organisations that provide information and advice around care and support.
The Care Act
The Care Act requires that Local Authorities give priority to information and advice, and aim to radically improve people's experience. The Act does not expect LAs to provide all the information themselves. Instead they should "understand, co-ordinate and make use of" the resources available across the community. Statutory Guidance advocates the development of local strategies that emphasise a joined-up approach across agencies. The Care Act also asks local areas to produce public reports on the improvements they are achieving including evidence about customer satisfaction.
In most local areas, there is already a range of ongoing work to improve the provision of information and advice but the Act implies a whole system approach rather than a focus on the council's own provision. The scope of local strategies and improvement priorities will differ however it is likely that in most places the main task will be to work with others to improve the coherence of the system - to make sure that people know where and how they can access information, are given consistent advice, and not passed from pillar to post.
How to use the toolkit
The toolkit contains a bank of resources designed around a six stage process for developing a strategy. As you click on each section, you will find more material including - questions to be addressed, tools, links to useful resources and case examples.
At the heart of the toolkit are six downloadable templates. If you complete these as a set, they will help you to undertake and record the preparatory work that will be required to develop a strategy - and to present this work to your council in a well-organised way. (Once you have completed these templates, you may wish to adapt or tailor the material as you think fit. This may include writing a more public version - in Plain English and/or in other formats).
The toolkit is interactive, and designed to be used selectively to meet your local needs although we would advise that you start with the "Getting Started" section.
It is essential that you involve customers and potential customers throughout - not only in establishing the priorities, but also in delivering the improvements and providing feedback on the emerging results.
We need your feedback
We are keen to receive your feedback (opens new window) on the tool.
This information and advice strategy toolkit is part of a suite of resources commissioned by the Department of Health in partnership with the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to support those commissioning and providing care and support in implementing the Care Act 2014. To find out more, visit www.local.gov.uk/care-support-reform."
Authors: Rachel Ayling and Independent Age on behalf of Think Local Act Personal.