3. Information and advice
The provisions of the Care Act aim to build on people’s strengths, capabilities and wellbeing, and help people to live independently for as long as possible. In order to do this, the Act says that people must have access to good quality information and advice from the first time they contact the local authority. This may help people with dementia, carers and families to take control and make informed choices about care and support needs now and in the future.
Local authorities do not have to provide all elements of this information and advice themselves but are expected to signpost (tell people about) or refer people to independent and impartial sources of information and advice.
The wide definition of information and advice includes care and support-related aspects of health, housing, benefits, and employment. The information they supply must be clear and available to everyone.
Local authorities must identify people who might benefit from independent financial advice or information and help them to access it. This must include financial information and advice about understanding care charges and ways to pay so that people can make informed financial decisions.
Local authority staff should direct people to the financial information and advice they need. Before providing this advice directly to a person they should establish whether the person has decision-making capacity, or if a deputy of the Court of Protection or a person with Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney is acting on behalf of the individual. For more information see our pages on Lasting power of attorney and Becoming a deputy for a person with dementia.
Some people who have care and support needs now, or will do in the future, may have difficulty being involved in and making decisions about their care and support. They may not have anyone to support them – for example, a family member or friend. If a person has substantial difficulty and no one to help, a local authority must provide an independent advocate.