The Care Act
Information and advice
Section 4(1) of the Care Act states that local authorities must “establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to care and support for adults and support for carers.” In providing information and advice, local authorities must recognise and respond to the specific requirements that carers have for both general and personal information. Importantly, the duty relates to the whole population of the local authority area, not just those with care and support needs.
Whilst local authorities must establish and maintain a service, it is important to recognise that the duty does not require that they provide all elements of this service. In many cases, a local authority may not be best placed to provide advice, but they are expected to:
- Understand, coordinate and make effective use of all the high quality information and advice resources that are available
- Think about how they are reaching out and joining up with other providers of information and advice to ensure the coherence of the overall ‘offer’
- Signpost or refer people to relevant independent and impartial sources of information and advice
In West Cheshire, we have developed our Local Offer - a directory of information and services for adults and children across the borough:
The Local Offer includes not only basic information about care and support but a wide range of care and support related information. It seeks to address general wellbeing and the prevention of future need, covering topics such as health, finance, housing, employment, travel and what to do in cases of abuse or neglect of an adult.