Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support

Initial contact - Signposting, information and advice

... everyone should be able to access high-quality information and advice to point them in the right direction for help.

(‘Introduction’, DH, 2010, para 11)

Mrs Evans’ story – information, advice and signposting to the NHS and third sector

Mrs Evans is aged 75. Her daughter uses the newly opened call-in centre in the shopping mall to ask for information about falls. After a recent fall her mother is becoming less confident about walking. The worker provides information about the falls clinic and a third sector organisation for older people. She says that Mrs Evans can refer herself to the third sector organisation, but will need a GP referral to the falls clinic. Her GP will also identify whether any other action is necessary.

A theme throughout ‘Prioritising need’, reinforced in the White Paper and the Care Bill, is the importance of providing information, advice and signposting to people, whether or not they are eligible for publicly funded services. People approaching the local authority in this context are seeking sound, up-to-date information and advice to enable them to negotiate the complexities of the care, health and housing systems.

Many with the financial resources to permit self-funding report feeling totally abandoned, if the only response from the local authority is that their financial circumstances make them ineligible for support. Providing good information and advice is in the interests of individuals, carers and families, as well as the local authority in its responsibilities for prevention. Without good advice, self-funders can make poor financial and care choices (e.g. premature admission to a care home). If they run out of funds as a result, they become a charge on the local authority.

To provide high quality information and advice when people first make contact, staff need to:

The Care Bill 2013, subject to parliamentary approval, will place duties on local authorities:


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