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Will Scie’s good care guide be good for care?

Test marks by MinivanNinja.jpg(Updated 9.30am)

Today sees the long-awaited launch of Find Me Good Care, a website designed to help families choose care and support services developed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. 
It has been launched off the back of a public opinion survey showing 66% of people have no idea how much care costs and 59% do not know what support is available, underscoring its purpose as a way to help families navigate their way through the care and support maze.

It combines general information about how the care and support system works and how to access it, both nationally and locally, with details about individual services which will include moderated feedback from service users.
The latter element places Find Me Good Care within the growing band of care comparison websites, such as the Good Care Guide, the Better Care Guide, Rate My Care and Compare Care Homes; this is a trend that is fully endorsed by the government. Its White Paper, published in July, included plans to develop online “provider quality profiles” of all care homes and home care providers in England to help service users make choices about support. It stated:
The government supports the development of websites which allow people who use services, and carers, to feed back directly to providers and commissioners about good or poor quality practice and provide user ratings. From April 2013, we will also pool the comments from high-quality feedback websites onto a feedback area of the provider quality profile, bringing online feedback together in one place. (p41) 

findmegoodcarelogo.jpg

Find Me Good Care is likely to become the “official” care comparison website; not only is it produced by Scie, which is funded by government to gather and disseminate information on social care quality, but it has won the backing of social care’s national bodies representing councils and providers. It also embraces the personalisation agenda by allowing providers of non-Care Quality Commission registered services (such as community activities) to list their services (for a fee).
However, there has been some less than positive feedback from a few CareSpace users and for one reason: that Find Me Good Care allows providers to pay for an “enhanced listing” to promote their services, which will be added to a basic listing provided for all Care Quality Commission-registered services (including information on their registration status etc). Moreover, families will only be able to review services with an enhanced listing.
CareSpace critics argue that this will give an advantage to well-resourced providers who can fund an enhanced listing, making them a more attractive proposition to families using the site.  There was also a related criticism that the site adds nothing besides “provider propaganda” to what is available on the CQC’s website (Though it is worth pointing out that by paying for an enhanced listing a provider is opening itself up to negative reviews).
Scie’s response to this is the following:
  • Paid-for listings are needed to fund the site; (against this it is worth pointing out that the Better Care Guide does not charge for enhanced listings while Rate My Care and Compare Care Homes use a different model entirely, in which providers register for free with the sites but are charged for every user who clicks on their listing; the Good Care Guide has a similar model to Scie’s).
  • In searches made by families for care providers, enhanced listed services will not feature above basic listed services;
  • Provider fees will be on a sliding scale to make them affordable, with a £50 charge for a sole trader and charges of £360 to £400 per location for providers with multiple sites. 
  • Reviews and comparisons are only one part of the site’s offer; it is also a much broader based guide to accessing care to help families navigate the confusions of the current system.
Fundamentally it is a site for families, to help them navigate the complexities of the care system and address the failings in information and advice that have blighted social care for years. So in addition to provider listings, there are 70 advice articles on topics such as planning, arranging and paying for care. 
My first impressions (from a quick glance through the site) are positive; the articles are clearly written (passing the plain English test) and provide comprehensive information, and the site is easy to navigate. It is also good to have all this information under one roof. Paid-for listings remain a difficulty and it will be interesting to see how this affects the effectiveness of the site – and its reception among care professionals. 

Mithran Samuel

About Mithran Samuel

Mithran Samuel is adults' editor at Community Care.

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2 Responses to Will Scie’s good care guide be good for care?

  1. carewatcher 12 April , 2013 at 3:22 am #

    It is NOT possible for members of the Public to leave feedback, comments or reviews on the Care provision (care home or domiciliary care) of ANY and ALL providers who have chosen not to advertise with the FMGC website.
    Members of the public are told, when being prevented from leaving comments to unpaid for listings, that the provider has “not subscribed” to FMGC website. I suggest ‘that’ in itself is disingenuous and that members of the Public (service users et al) should be informed at that point that ONLY paid for listings allow comments and reviews. Nothing to do with “subscriptions”.

    In addition, I have tested the site search facility by entering the postode of a known unenhanced dom care provider listing (most dom care providers are in this category at the moment!), selected 100 miles from postcode for providers and hit search.

    The first listed care provider returned by the search is 5 miles from the actual postcode given (which should have returned the dom care provider for whom the postcode relates) giving the unenhanced listed care provider a lower ranking in the returned search at number two.

    This indicates and confirms that the site is also using a discriminatory listing system that supports and promotes those care providers that have paid for listings by sorting paid for listed care providers to the top of the search return query.

    I’m sure I do not have to go into the ramifications of all of this but it is a nonsensical and disgraceful situation that needs addressing very quickly.

    This glaring shortcoming is just being polished over by SCIE and needs to be exposed for what it really is….