4 Information and Advice
Service for providing people with information and advice
- A majority of respondents supported the proposal to introduce a duty for local authorities to establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to the Carer's Support Plan, support for carers and the Carers Rights Charter. A majority of those opposed to this proposal were local authorities.
- Respondents want to see consistency in the content and quality of information and advice provided as well as ensuring this is accessible and meets the needs of wide-ranging user groups.
- Requests were for information to be provided in a range of formats and via a number of different channels.
- Those opposed to this proposal felt that legislation is unnecessary as quality provision of advice and information is already in place.
- There were some concerns about who would be responsible for delivery of this service; as well as concerns over funding and resources for this provision.
Section 12 of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002
- A key issue cited by respondents was the availability of funding. Linked to this, there were some calls for ongoing government scrutiny to ensure that adequate core funding is available.
- There was support for partnership working for the development of joint local approaches for carer information.
4.1 This chapter of the consultation addressed carers' and young carers' access to information and advice, including to the Carers/ Young Carers Rights Charter, and maintenance of information. It explained the existing legal provisions in respect of information and advice and put forward the view that new legal provisions would be beneficial in adding impetus to policy and practice developments underway to support service users and carers with information and advice.
SERVICE FOR PROVIDING PEOPLE WITH INFORMATION AND ADVICE
4.2 The paper detailed a proposal to introduce a duty for local authorities to establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to the Carer's Support Plan, support for carers and the Carers Rights Charter. Question 9 asked:
Question 9: Should we introduce a duty for local authorities to establish and maintain a service for providing people with information and advice relating to the Carer's Support Plan and support for carers and young carers?
Table 4.1: Question 9
|Respondent group||Yes||No||Other||Nil response|
|Carer/ User support (81)||64||2||-||15|
|Local authority (24)||7||15||1||1|
|Public body (3)||1||-||1||1|
|Professional body (3)||2||-||-||1|
|Representative body (3)||1||2||-||-|
4.3 The table above shows that 114 respondents said 'yes' and 21 (mainly from the local authority group) said 'no'. Eight respondents made comments without explicitly giving an unqualified 'yes' or 'no'. One hundred and thirty-seven respondents made comments on this question and some key themes were evident across respondent categories and regardless of whether respondents answered 'yes' or 'no'.
4.4 The most common theme related to the importance of ensuring that information and advice is provided relating to the Carer's Support Plan and support for carers and young carers. Further, many respondents commented on the need for consistency in the content and quality of information and advice that is provided. Even respondents disagreeing with this duty, felt that provision of information is important, with most noting that this happens already and that legislation is not needed.
4.5 Linked to the need for consistency in the quality of information and advice provided, many respondents commented on the need for accessibility of information to meet the needs of wide-ranging user groups.
4.6 There were recurring comments on the need for information and advice to be provided in a range of formats and through wide-ranging channels; in particular, some respondents noted the importance of one-to-one communication and the need to avoid over-reliance on online channels.
4.7 There were many comments on the need for the style and format of information to take account of the specific needs of different groups, including children and young carers and carers within equality groups.
4.8 The main themes from those respondents who answered 'no' to this question were that legislation per se would be unnecessary and that quality provision of advice and information is already in place. Some respondents reiterated that the SDS Act already places a duty on local authorities to ensure the provision of independent information and advice in relation to self-directed support.
4.9 Another key recurring theme, sometimes relating to existing provision, and evident in comments from those answering 'yes' and from those answering 'no as well as those who simply commented, was about who would or should be delivering the service. Some of these comments related to the phrasing of the consultation question and others related more generally to a requirement for local authorities to fund the information and advice service, rather than necessarily maintain and deliver the service.
4.10 Several respondents, notably carer/ user support organisations, expressed concerns that 'Local Authorities might try to establish their own services, rather than resourcing existing carer support services'. The importance of maintaining existing and effective services and of providing locally based services was frequently noted, and also taking account of the needs of more isolated, LGBT, Traveller Communities, BME communities and other hard-to-reach carers.
4.11 Some respondents cited specific types of individuals or organisations they felt were best placed to offer expert and impartial information and advice, and others identified the need for provision from wide ranging sources. The need to maintain and build on quality provision was a recurring theme.
4.12 The importance of adequate funding and resources for provision of information and advice was cited by several respondents.
SECTION 12 OF THE COMMUNITY CARE AND HEALTH (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002
4.13 The consultation detailed a proposal to repeal section 12 of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 about the submission of Carer Information Strategies to Scottish Ministers, expressing the view that the provision will be redundant when the integration of health and social care is established. Question 10 asked:
Question 10: Should we repeal section 12 of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 about the submission of Carer information Strategies to Scottish Ministers, subject to reassurances, which are subject in turn to Spending Review decisions, about the continuation of funding to Health Boards for support to carers and young carers?
Table 4.2: Question 10
|Respondent group||Yes||No||Other||Nil response|
|Carer/ User support (81)||23||21||16||21|
|Local authority (24)||17||2||5||-|
|Public body (3)||1||-||-||2|
|Professional body (3)||-||-||-||3|
|Representative body (3)||2||1||-||-|
4.14 The table above shows that 63 respondents said 'yes' and 37 respondents said 'no'. A further 30 made comments without giving an unqualified 'yes' or 'no'. Opinions were mixed within most respondent categories, although most local authorities and health organisations who commented were in favour of repealing section 12. Amongst individual respondents, the balance of opinion was slightly against the repeal of section 12.
4.15 One hundred and thirteen respondents made comments on this question. A small number of respondents commented on difficulties in understanding and therefore answering the question. The key theme across all responses, noted by respondents who answered either 'yes' or 'no' or simply made comment and from different respondent categories, was the importance of appropriate funding continuing to be available.
4.16 For some respondents, who typically answered 'no', reassurances were not felt to be adequate; the benefit of ring-fenced funding were cited by several. Some respondents expressed concern that without ring-fenced funding, support might not be channelled toward carers. For example, three respondents commented: "The mechanisms for directing resources to carer support need to be nationally agreed and embedded within the new integrated partnerships".
4.17 A further common theme, again across different answers given and from different respondent categories, was that partnerships create the best foundation to develop joint local approaches to carer information.
4.18 Whilst many of the respondents who answered 'yes' felt that the context of health and social care integration made the repeal of section 12 appropriate, some respondents felt it was too early to implement this proposal. One carer/ user support organisation who answered 'no' commented: "Although this provision may become redundant with the imminent integration, this should not be implemented until such time as more concrete plans and provisions are made for the integration process at a local level."
Email: Connie Smith
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