Leeds Directory - Leeds City Council

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Project description

The Leeds Directory was developed by Leeds City Council, it provides a universal source of quality information accessible in a variety of formats, to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders. It was formerly known as the Keeping House Directory, and has several core elements:

  • An online directory of services
  • An events calendar that provides information about local groups and activities
  • A directory helpline to answer queries from members of the public and give people information about services
  • A quality assurance function for services listed in the directory which are delivered in the home or garden
  • An online purchasing service has been set up through a sister website, Connect to Support Leeds, which will be linked to the Leeds Directory site.

The service has been running since 2009 and is delivered through a contract with Care and Repair Leeds, a local social enterprise. More than 1,700 organisations and services are listed in the directory, and the website receives around 7,000 hits per month. There are also around 200 calls to the helpline.

Who is the service for?

The directory is designed for people in Leeds who need care and support services to help them maintain their independence, and for carers who provide informal support to them. It is also used by NHS and council staff to help signpost people to sources of further information and help.

Intended outcomes

The directory aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Help people to live independently and choose the support they need to maximise their independence
  • Enable people to remain living in their own home for longer
  • Inform people about services and opportunities in a local, accessible and comprehensive way
  • Support local providers of services that enable people to remain independent.

Why is the service being developed?

With growing numbers of people in Leeds needing increased amounts of care and support, the 'Keeping House' project was established in 2005 to create new ways to address these needs.

One of the project's primary functions was to develop and maintain a list of domestic services, to help the council meet its strategic objective of enabling older people and disabled people to live independently in their own homes for longer. A checking and vetting function was also established, to give people assurance that service providers listed in the directory met specific quality criteria.

The project developed and expanded over time and was rebranded as the Leeds Directory. It now includes services for people with a mental health need, people with a learning disability and people with a sensory impairment, in line with the personalisation agenda.

Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?

People who use services, carers and health and social care professionals were consulted about the development of the service, including what information should be held on the directory, how it should be categorised, and how the website should look and feel. To achieve this, the directory team held a range of forums with older people, disabled people and people from BME groups. The team also took advice from front-line staff, and gathered the opinions of service providers.

Has the service met the intended outcomes?

The directory has met the council's intended outcomes. It has become a trusted and well-known resource for people looking for care and support services in Leeds, and a useful route to market for providers. More than 1,700 local services are listed, all of which are person-centred, reliable, flexible, affordable, accessible and culturally appropriate.

Specific outcomes are monitored and evaluated from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Targets have been set based on the contract requirements. These include providing information to 8,000 people who need/looking for care and support per year, obtaining feedback from at least 10 per cent of the people who contact the helpline, and checking and vetting 100 per cent of the services listed in the directory that deliver services in the home or garden.

In addition, feedback is sought annually from people who use the service and from service providers, to evaluate the impact of the directory on both sides.

Do you have information on costs or savings?

The cost of providing the Leeds Directory service is around £139,500 per year.

What were the learning points in setting up this service?

  • Spend enough time at the beginning consulting, to understand what information is needed locally, how people want to receive it, and how the service can be made accessible to everyone who needs it
  • Think carefully about how the information will be maintained and kept fully up-to-date so that it remains accurate and relevant
  • Consider introducing a quality assurance or registration process for providers, to give people who use services a level of confidence in the quality of the service they choose
  • Gather regular feedback from people who use the online service and use this to keep developing it.

Contact details

Emma Carter
Commissioning Manager - Enterprise, Leeds City Council
Email: emma.carter@leeds.gov.uk
Telephone: 0113 247 7973