Support through the Council
When to get support through the Council
Some people think automatically of turning to the Council as the way to get support for people who are older or disabled, or have other needs.
Other people prefer not to have links with the Council if possible.
We know that for some people this view is based on previous experiences of using health or care services, and for some people it is based on principles and views about public services.
These are points to consider on the practical aspects of working with the Council to get access to social care services and other types of support.
- Each Council will be publishing its criteria on who gets access to social care services through them. These are services such as help with housework and shopping, or day care (and a lot more). Recently this has been people who have higher needs and would be at risk of harm if they did not get care services.
- People aged 65 and over can get all of their personal care paid for. This includes help with washing and getting dressed and preparing meals.
- The first stage when you contact the Council is an assessment to see if you are entitled to care services there.
- If you are not entitled to care services through them and still want to get some support, you will need to organise this yourself.
- The person doing the assessment might ask you questions that help you think about the support that would be useful.
- They might also point you to services which anyone can use.
- If you are eligible for care the Council will pay towards the costs of social care services.
- Most of these services are means-tested, so if you have savings or income above a certain level you pay towards to costs of your care.
- If you know that your income puts you above the point where the Council pays for the service, you may decide just to organise it yourself.
- If you need more care services later, or if your income has reduced, remember that you can still contact the Council at that point and see what they can do to help you.
- The Council staff or other people doing the assessments should know a lot about what supports people find helpful and what is available in that area.
- Other people who have a similar expertise include staff in the independent advice services.
- Advice from other people in similar circumstances to you also helps alongside information from Council staff.
- Some people who have used social care support have found that the social work staff are really good and come up with helpful advice.
- Other people have found the Council staff tend to know only about the limited range of services which the Council has contracts with, and can miss more creative solutions that draw on a wide range of supports.
- When people need higher levels of services they will usually be in touch with the Council to help meet the costs.
- Some people who have higher needs or are at more risk will want to be in touch with the Council for their expertise and legal powers in areas such as adult protection.
- Local authorities can arrange for people to get services quickly if there is a crisis.
- Sometime it is very helpful to get support to get you through the first few days and get the breathing space to work out what is best.
- Some people have found that staff in local authorities are not quick to respond if it is not a crisis. This delays you getting started with planning for and then getting support.
- Some people have found even longer delays once support is underway – for example when they want to review or make changes to the support they get.
- Other people have found that they get a prompt response from the Council staff in these situations.
- It seems to depend on the caseload and on the procedures for each team – so it can even vary within a Council.
- If you get help from an independent advice service, the speed of response may depend on their caseload.
- If you are organising support yourself you might be able to do it quickly. Or it may take you longer because you have to do this in between other commitments, or have to first track down the information you need.