Search Engine Failure: Housing and Care Advice in the North West

Who do you go to for information or advice?

As a child you’d go to your parents or teachers but who do you go to when you’re a grown up and supposed to be knowledgeable AND experienced AND know everything.? Well according to the ONS about 40% of us will go to our Council’s website and this fits nicely with the Government agenda, ‘Digital by Default’. So how helpful are these Council websites? The Future North West Housing Group have been looking at how good the Council websites perform when it comes to advice and information for older people looking for a bit of help, particularly since the Care Act has given local authorities a duty to deliver information and advice.

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This Housing Group have kept a watchful eye on the integration of housing, health and care on offer to older people and their carers and have been concerned about the information and advice provided by local authorities. They conducted a survey in September and have shared their recommendations in a report titled, ‘Search Engine Failure: Housing and Care Advice in the North West’.

To read the FULL REPORT click here

Information and advice is key to decision making about housing, health, care and finances to enable people to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible but advice providers have to be responding to the questions rather than having answers that don’t fit the questions. This may seem self-evident but from looking at the Council websites that may not be how some are approaching it. The cliché , ‘ you don’t know what you don’t know’ is half the story and the other half is that in many cases we don’t think Councils have come to grips with breadth of information and questions people have regarding housing, health, care and finance either.

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We all get information in a variety of ways from a variety of sources but if Councils have a duty to provide advice and information, and want to fulfil that duty well, then they can do two things:

  • Read this report and test out their own website to see how user friendly it is.
  • Engage with their local older people’s forum as critical friends to improve everyone’s understanding of the Care Act as it impacts on housing health and social care.

Future North West Housing Group

Future North West – the Regional Forum on Ageing

October 2015

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