My Care, My Choice website - Stockport Council
'My Care, My Choice' is a website developed by Stockport Council that provides information about care and support services in Stockport and acts as an information hub for council staff and partner organisations. It guides people through the social care 'maze', and has resulted in significant savings for the council.
The website was fully launched in October 2009. It includes the following sections:
- Information and advice on a range of topics, including living at home, getting out and about, residential care and housing choices, disability and sensory loss, keeping safe, legal and financial issues
- Guidance from FLAG (For Local Advice and Guidance); an independent service that helps people find the practical or emotional help they need, via the website, telephone or face to face
- My market, an online marketplace with ads from a number of local provider organisations.
Who is the service for?
The website is designed for people in Stockport who use services and carers. It also aimed at council staff, staff from the council's partner organisations, and independent local organisations that provide services.
The aim of the website is to support the increasing number of people in Stockport who are looking for care and support, to enable informed decision-making, to reach people before they reach crisis-point, to promote universal services and to support self-funders.
The specific intentions were to create a website that offers a clear, easy-to-use pathway to help people understand what social care services are available, as well as a platform for the council to deliver personalisation.
Why is the service being developed?
The service was developed following research carried out by the council in 2008 into their existing methods of communication. This concluded that the existing website was not fit for purpose, confusing and hard to navigate, and did not support informed decision-making.
This tied in with the wider transformation of adult social care in England, and the requirement that councils provide information to members of the public and ensure that people who fund their own care have access to good quality advice.
Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
People who use services and carers were closely involved in the creation of the new website. They provided feedback on the previous website and took part in a mystery shopping exercise, in which they were asked to search for particular information while being timed. The learning from this contributed to the design of the new site.
The council appointed an ethnographer to work with people who were not existing users of social care services, in order to understand how people wanted to see information, what language was important to them, and the importance of clear and easy navigations tools on the site. In addition, a small number of user groups tested the site during the initial months.
Representatives from partner organisations were part of an initial project steering group. Each of the major voluntary sector organisations in Stockport was asked to recruit a number of testers to work with the project team.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
The website has resulted in higher quality information to help people make decisions about their care and support. Feedback from people who use it has been very positive. It has become a central reference point for staff from across the council and external organisations. Signposting is used effectively, and supports the policy of 'no wrong front door'. The site has also helped support the development of online marketplace in Stockport, with a large number of local provider advertising there.
Since the website launched, the number of contacts and enquiries at the council's contact centre has fallen and the number of email enquiries has increased.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
There have been significant savings for adult social care.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
- Work closely with people who will use the service to ensure the website fits their needs, and develop a shared vision for it
- Involve staff through the process, recognising that they will be continuous users of the site and play an important role in promoting it
- Find a way of reaching people who are not traditional users of the council's services
- Be prepared to offer supported access for people who do not use the internet. Stockport offer this through local libraries and the local support organisation, FLAG
- Continue to provide information in traditional formats such as factsheets and leaflets, for people who want to receive it this way.
Service Manager - Personalisation, Stockport Council
Telephone: 07800 618811