The paper aims to ascertain how local authorities and other services are responding to central government strategies to make support for family carers a priority.
A web-based audit of local authority public information for carers was undertaken (n=50). The sample covered different parts of England and different local authority types.
A small minority of local authority web sites mention that they operated Carers’ Registers. Overall local authorities offer different resources to carers, ranging from discounts in the local area to access to emergency card registration. Some use online information as a communication channel. Overall local authority online information for carers seems to be variable in quality, accessibility and purpose. We conclude that growth in the collection of information by primary care services in England risks duplicating some of the functions of, and problems with, local authority activities. Local commissioning should minimise confusion and make optimal use of carers’ information. Carers should not have to navigate confusing, variable, parallel systems and outreach is needed for those who do not use electronic media, such as some older carers.
This was a small-scale study nested within a larger project. It is possible that the web sites we interrogated were atypical, although we did take steps to prevent this.
The study’s strength lies in its originality of approach undertaking a specific audit of material that is publicly available and reflecting on a subject that has not previously been explored in the context of information for carers.
Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., Cornes, M., Hussein, S. and Lombard, D. (2013) On-line information and registration with services: patterns of support for carers in England. Working with Older People, 17 (3): 117-124.