Scottish councils failing on online social care assessments

Written by Jenni Davidson on 30 May 2017 in News
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Socitm suggests Scottish local authorities lag behind because they are not subject to the UK Government’s Care Act 2015

Socitm found Scottish councils performing much worse than in England and Wales

Only 16 per cent of Scottish councils provide clear information about how to request a care assessment for an older person, a Socitm survey has found.

The association of public sector IT professionals carries out an annual assessment of councils’ online services.

The most recent survey, which looked at council websites in Scotland, England and Wales, examined how easy it was for people to request a social care assessment for an older person.

On average, the proportion of councils providing a good or very good online service for a requesting a social care assessment was 49 per cent.

But Scotland performed “dramatically less well” than England and Wales, with just 16 per cent of Scottish councils rated good, and none very good, compared with 57 per cent of English local authority websites and 41 per cent of Welsh ones.

Socitm suggested this could be because Scottish councils are not subject to the UK Care Act and that health and social care services are more integrated with the NHS in Scotland.

The Care Act 2015 requires English councils to provide information about social care and to direct people to other sources of help if they don’t quality for council support, but no such requirement exists in Scotland.

Socitm said: “Generally speaking, social care pages on Scottish sites provide far less information than do their English and Welsh counterparts about the assessment process, eligibility for financial support, and related information and services.

“It has been suggested that as most referrals for care assessments in Scotland come from professionals, it is not necessary to publish much information on the topic.

“The culture of encouraging self-help and the requirement to publish information for self-funders, which are consequences of the Care Act, and has had a dramatic effect on web publishing by social care departments in England, is also absent.

Better Connected programme director Vicky Sargent said: “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.”

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