Digital access to care information improving

The access of information and advice about local care services on local authority websites is witnessing ‘encouraging progress’, according to IT Society Socitm.

Councils in England, who are required under the Care Act 2015 to provide access to suitable information about local care options, are showing improvement in the area, with two individual surveys highlighting how 50 per cent of the local authorities tested were shown to offer a good or very good service online.

Socitm suggested that councils who were found to provide a poor experience to their users should learn from councils such as Barnsley, Coventry City and Wokingham, who were recognised as the best performing councils.

Vicky Sargent, Socitm’s Better Connected programme director, commented: “There can be little doubt that the Care Act is responsible for a much more transparent presentation of what is (and is not) on offer from English councils. Many state from the outset that most people will have to contribute to care costs and are explicit about thresholds.

“Scottish councils, which have not been subject to the Care Act, tend to bury these issues and also be more obscure about the whole process of assessment for both needs and financial resources. Scottish councils are much more likely to ask people to phone the council than complete a self-assessment and submit it online, which is a growing feature of English councils’ sites.”

Meanwhile, Socitm has also reported that 134 of 195 council websites have passed their Better Connected stage two accessibility test, meaning that online content can be accesses easily by people with disabilities.