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Social care

Find out about breaks for carers of adults - 2015

Why important

Visiting council websites for social care is only in the middle tier of reasons for visits (between 2% and 2.5%). However, because of budgets cuts, the growth in the ageing population, and the far-reaching changes in social care arrangements set out in the Care Act (in England), how social care information is delivered online is moving to centre stage. Looking for information about breaks for carers of adults is likely to become more common in the next few years.

Overview

Most councils do not handle this task well, with only 35% achieving our standard. Performance is quite variable, with a tendency to overcomplicate information, to use too much jargon and to provide too many links to external sites. This should be a relatively straightforward task.

Coverage

All councils, except shire districts and districts in Northern Ireland (206 councils in all).

Primary route for this task

We assessed this task primarily using the home page.

Headline results

35%

Achieved standard

The standard
  • At least 8 questions from 11 answered 'Yes'
  • Question Q114 must be answered 'Yes'
  • Question Q126 must be 'No' (content must not be out of date)
  • Promotion of task rated satisfactory or very good
  • Customer journey rated satisfactory or very good

How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?

Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?

Key
  • Very good
  • Satisfactory
  • Poor
  • No information

Questions

NB Question highlighted in green is an ‘essential question’ that must be answered correctly for the council to meet the standard for this task

Percentage answered correctly
Questions to be answered 'Yes'
Q112 Does the home page lead me directly to the task? 83%
Q113 Does the site have a page or section specifically about help for carers? 78%
Q114 Is there a clear description or list of the range of help available for carers that includes breaks or 'respite'? 56%
Q115 Is there a clear explanation of what 'respite' or time off carers may be able to get? 47%
Q116 Is there a clear explanation of what a carer's assessment is? 61%
Q117 Am I invited to make contact online to request an assessment or get help from social services regarding my new situation as a carer? 50%
Q118 Am I signposted from the carers page(s) to a list of welfare benefits I might be entitled to as a carer? 30%
Q119 Is there any information on this journey about 'Carer Grants' (aka 'carer personal budget')? 19%
Q120 Is there clear advice about emergency care schemes that would care for my relative if I have an emergency to deal with? 37%
Q121 Does a Google search lead me to the task? 90%
Q122 Does the service landing page provide a prominent link that goes directly to this task? 79%
Q123 Does a site search for the task return the correct result listed in the first five results? 73%
Q124 Is there an entry in the A to Z index? 69%
Q125 Was the content free of jargon and confusing language? 68%
Out of date information, answered 'No'
Q126 Did you come across any out-of-date information about this task? 85%
How effectively is this council promoting this as a task? Average score (0-3)
Q127 How effectively is this council promoting this as a task? 2
Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion? Average score (0-3)
Q128 Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion? 1.6

Task report

Good practice

Finding the task

  • Provide a clear link for social care from the home page.
  • Find the task by entering ‘council name’ carers (or carers’ breaks, ‘respite care’) into Google (or other search engine).
  • Provide a direct link for carers from the social care landing page.
  • Ensure that internal searches for ‘carers’ point to the correct page at the top of the search results.
  • Provide an entry in the A to Z for ‘Carers’ that leads directly to the carers web page.
  • Take visitors to the same page from any site search result or A to Z entry.
  • Provide one main page for carers that clearly lists all the topics for carers.
  • If an external social care/health website is used to host information for carers, this should be clearly indicated on an appropriate page within the council website.
  • In two-tier areas, signpost the task from the appropriate district council sites.

Completing the task

  • Ensure that the content includes carers’ services and advice provided by the council, health services and the voluntary sector.
  • Use clear topic headings that group similar information together. For example,a heading such as ‘financial support for carers’ would then include information about direct payments, carers allowance, whether or not the council provides a one-off carer’s grant, etc.
  • Ensure that the content clearly indicates which organisation is responsible for specific services, e.g. if the council has outsourced carers’ support to an external agency or charity.
  • Ensure that headings and links do not use jargon that people new to caring and social care support will be unable to understand, e.g. a link for ‘direct payments’ is not obvious but a link to ‘financial support for carers’ is.
  • Design content to help carers, not simply provided to ‘box tick’, e.g. simply stating the council’s legal obligations regarding carers in an officious tone is not helpful.
  • Provide a useful level of detail, e.g. information about carers assessments should include information about where the assessment will take place, what questions the carer will be asked, how long it takes to reach a decision, etc.

Poor practice

  • Content relevant to carers is scattered across unlinked pages.
  • The site uses terms as links that people new to caring and social care are unlikely to understand, e.g. ‘direct payments’, ‘personalisation’, ‘advocacy’.
  • Concepts such as those above are not explained in plain English.
  • Carers are signposted to an online market place or service directory with no explanation as to how this is relevant to their situation or the task journey.
  • Carers are signposted to content that turns out to be specifically for the ‘cared-for’ person rather than the carer, e.g. to an assessment page that describes the assessment for the cared-for person, not the carer.
  • Content is lacking in useful detail, e.g. the possibility of carers’ breaks might be mentioned, but no further information given about different options such as daily or weekly sitting services, day care centres or longer breaks.
  • Carers are not signposted to the complete range of financial support options that are available.
  • The task has a ‘dead end’ where some information is provided, but there is no further onward link/contact number that would enable the carer to complete the task.
  • The tone or writing style is not appropriate, e.g. referring to the council’s ‘commitment to carers’ in an overtly political way rather than simply providing customer-focused information to help carers find the information that they need.

Reviewer's tip

I often ran into problems with the task, as it was an area that was very prone to having jargon or strategy documents ahead of practical information. For example, one council prioritised ‘carer bumper stickers’ at the top of the page, which is not the most practical information a carer would be looking for. This area is very limited in terms of useful content and I am surprised how few councils have links to request an assessment. I find a bewildering number of links to external sites in this area, often with no explanation or context. This is often in lieu of useful content on the site.

Sites that we recommend

East Sussex CC

Really good and clear breakdown of information. It provides a clear menu of what’s on offer for carers. This makes it much easier for carers to get the full picture of services available, rather than looking for pages scattered across different parts of the website.

Derby City

Very strong. The pages are written in a good, plain, direct style and feel supportive, which is exactly what you would want. There are minor improvements that could be made with structure or wording, but this is definitely the right approach, well executed.

Hackney

There’s a good range of information here for carers. It’s clearly written and easy to understand. The page about carers’ assessments provided a useful list of the kinds of things carers should think about when assessing their own needs, such as whether they get any time to themselves, get enough sleep, can go back to employment, etc. The respite page also differentiated the different levels of respite available. The ‘Carers’ advocacy and advice’ web page signposted me to the list of benefits for carers and disabled people on the GOV.UK website to find out what benefits I might be entitled to.

Hampshire CC

Provides good links to relevant local or national services as well as useful steps on how to assess what you might need as a carer. The tone of the copy throughout this section also conveys careful copywriting. Good example of proper use of descriptive, in context linking which some other councils would benefit from implementing.

Luton BC

Found very good information about applying for flexible working, with a link to the GOV.UK site at the appropriate page. Some excellent supporting information in well-written and accessible downloadable handbooks and directories, giving more information about benefits for carers, services available locally and support groups. Also provides a ‘jargon-buster’ for social care.

North Yorkshire CC

Good comprehensive information, presented in a clear and friendly way, which is extremely important in this service area. You can also undertake a full carer’s assessment online, which is superb.

Oxfordshire CC

Really nicely presented landing page section about carers with lots of good quality deep-linking to a newly launched, dedicated website for carers. Full of some really good information.

 

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