Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support
Support planning - 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)
Francis’ story – the council call centre as a proactive information resource
Francis, aged 18, is in his first year at university and has been recently diagnosed as having epilepsy. Devastated he cannot drive his car and frightened of losing his newly acquired friends, Francis rings the adult services’ call centre. The worker checks out the support from his family and the university. Finding this is good, the worker suggests Francis might want to talk to others in his age group and suggests a local support group for young people with epilepsy, where Francis can share his concerns and learn from the solutions others have found.
For a significant proportion of people whose needs are assessed, the means to meet them will be through the provision of information and advice and, in some cases, access to advocacy services. A theme throughout the DH 2010 Guidance ’Prioritising need’ is the importance of providing information, advice and signposting to people, whether or not they are eligible for publicly funded services. To implement this, staff need to:
- know how to access the wide-ranging information and advice that might be required in their job role, share this knowledge with people seeking support and with carers, and explain how people can access information for themselves in different formats and through a variety of media
- remember that what is familiar information to them is not necessarily known to others making their first contact, and that information can be harder to take in when facing new or increasing levels of need, uncertainty and anxiety
- encourage and enable individuals to make the most effective use of universal services, in conjunction with their own strengths, capabilities and resources, so as to live as independently as possible
- avoid screening individuals out too early on the basis of their ability to self-fund or other factors; ensure signposting to other sources of support is clear and robust; and encourage people to come back if their circumstances change or their needs remain unmet.
‘People will be given better information and advice to plan ahead to prevent care needs, and will be better connected to those around them.’  The Care Bill will place a duty on local authorities to provide an information and advice service to help people understand how the care and support system works, what services are available locally and how to access the services they need now and those they might need in the future.