William Eichler 19 January 2018

Council websites ‘falling short’ on provision of care information

Council social care teams are ‘falling short’ in their duties to provide online information, advice and guidance to the public, ICT body warns.

Public sector ICT experts Socitm have surveyed the websites for all 152 English councils that have responsibilities for providing social care services.

They assessed each website by attempting to complete the task ‘Find services to help elderly relative stay in own home’.

Just over 40% of councils were found to provide a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ service for this task — an decrease on the 52% of last year.

The survey found that just 24% of sites make it easy to find providers of personal care services like dressing and washing; 32% to find gardening or shopping services; and only 44% information about community based social support services.

According to Socitm, one of the main reasons services are hard to find is most English and Welsh councils have invested in directories of services and providers for ‘self-funders’ whose families may be seeking these services on their behalf.

Most of these directories and ‘e-marketplaces’ are built on third party platforms provided by social care IT suppliers with a small minority of councils providing in-house built and maintained directories.

Socitm's findings, which can be seen on the Better Connected website, reveal significant problems with directory/e-marketplace functionality (search, filtering, categories), and the quality, completeness and currency of their contents.

However, the report did highlight Barnsley, Cheshire East, Croydon, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Staffordshire, and Wigan as good examples in this area.

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