Choosing the right services - how do I know if a service is good and right for me?
Kirklees Council has set up this website to make it easier for everyone to find the care and support they need. There are some important things you need to know, and think about, to make sure that you are making the right choices, and keeping safe, if you choose services from this site.
Connect to Support
The site is run by a national company called "shop4support". Companies and individuals can put themselves onto this site and there are no checks made about them - if shop4support are made aware that there are problems with a particular company or individual they can take steps to remove them - but there are no initial checks made. You need to make your own checks and feel comfortable about the services you are purchasing. This section provides information and advice about how to keep safe when using this site.
- Do you want support from a person to help you with your daily tasks?
- Do you want a piece of equipment or assistive technology, such as a tap turner, fall detector, medication reminder to support you?
- Do you want to get involved in an activity, such as going to a local club or taking part in a hobby?
- Do you want to do a mix of these things?
- Or do you want advice on your finances?
Initial conversations with a care provider is a good introduction to a future relationship and how easy it will be to talk to or work with them.
- Were they easy to get hold of?
- Did they get back to you when they said they would?
- Did they offer to meet with you to discuss your needs in person?
- Did they ask if you want to talk to other people they support or if you have checked their feedback and ratings on Connect to Support?
Your support provider should confirm a price that will not change after you and they have signed the contract, unless by agreement. Please note that this may be a different amount to that stated on Connect to Support.
- How is the price put together? and what does it include?
- If you are buying equipment or assistive technology,
- is postage and packing included?
- do you need anything else, for example, someone to fit it?
- If an hourly rate is quoted for support, is this for 1:1 support or shared support?
- Are there any extra charges that you need to know about?
- Does the rate cover everything that you will need?
- What will happen if you need more support during the contract - how will this be charged?
- Do you want the provider to invoice you or will you pay another way?
- You can pay safely through Connect to Support by credit card, debit card or paypal. Check how the provider will accept payment as some may also accept cash or cheque.
- Do not give out your payment details unless you are sure the person is who they say they are and do not send cash through the post.
- Always ask for a receipt. If you pay through Connect to Support you will receive this automatically with your full purchase history.
- Your support provider might want to include an annual price increase in your contract - make sure you are aware of this
- There may be circumstances when prices need to be reviewed - make sure that there is a clear process for how you will be told about this
- Bear in mind that specialist provider agencies may cost more but may have more skills to support you and may be a better choice - make sure you consider this when making a decision
If things go wrong you want to be certain that any problems can be solved quickly and efficiently.
If you are buying equipment or assistive technology
- can you send it back if it is not what you expected?
- what are the terms and conditions to do this?
Who should you contact if things go wrong?
Is there a complaints procedure? Is it easy to understand?
Do you think that potential complaints will be taken seriously and investigated?
Does the procedure tell you how they will feed back to you about what is happening as a result of your complaint - and what you can do if you are still not happy?
- People's circumstances change and there may come a time when you need to cancel your support agreement. You need to know you can do this easily.
- Is there a procedure for ending your agreement?
- Is there a notice period?
- Are they any 'exit fees' such as staff salaries or other costs?
We believe one of the best ways of finding out how good a service is, is by listening to the views of other people who have used it.
The star ratings on this site are based on user feedback and as more and more people add to this feedback, this will build up a picture of how good a company or individual is.
When you have received a product or service from a provider through Connect to Support please leave a star rating / feedback to help other customers.
The Council has contracts with a wide range of different social care provider organisations. When we have a contract we monitor this, usually through visits to the organisation's premises, and/or to where the service is delivered. To let you know which services are contracted to the Council we have used the following symbol:
This tells you that we are working with them and some kind of regular monitoring will be taking place. The kind of monitoring will vary from service to service. If, through this monitoring, we find there are issues with service delivery (and from time to time almost all organisations can experience problems with quality of service) we will be addressing these with the organisations and giving them timescales to resolve them.
The kinds of companies that we undertake regular contract monitoring of include:
- Domiciliary (home) care
- Day care / daytime activities
- Care homes
If an organisation does not have this symbol it does not mean that they are not a good provider, it just shows that the Council is not currently contracting with them and so is not regularly monitoring their service.
AgeUK in Kirklees operate a directory of businesses who are signed up to their customer charter. If a business is on their directory you will see the following symbol next to their name:
This indicates that these businesses are:
- Reputable companies that can be trusted (Age UK have met every company, taken up references, checked with Trading Standards and checked they have valid insurance in place);
- Committed to excellent customer service;
- Signed up to the Age UK Customer Charter
The Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for overseeing those organisations who have to be formally registered in order to deliver personal health and social care services.
These services include:
- Residential and Nursing home care
- Domiciliary (home) care/Care in your home
- Other services including a wide range of secondary and specialist health care services
The CQC check whether these organisations are meeting government standards and have a website where they list all the regulated services and provide information about their latest inspections of these services. We advise that you look at this information before making any decisions about social care provision.
Kirklees Caring Cars
Caring cars is an agreement between Kirklees Council and local taxi companies. It aims to promote safe and confident taxi travel so that older people in Kirklees can get about with a basic level of support. If a taxi company is a Caring car you will see this symbol on their store.
Caring cars taxi companies will:
- ask if you have difficulty with particular types of vehicle.
- provide an estimated cost of the journey upon request.
- Make the driver aware that you are older or vulnerable.
- contact you if they are 15 minutes late to say when they should arrive.
The driver will:
- help you and your belongings into or out of the vehicle on your request, if not done automatically.
- advise you about the planned route, expected time and cost.
- wait until you have entered the property safely, before leaving.
- display code of practice stickers so customers know they are receiving this service.
Things you should remember when booking a taxi under Caring cars:
- Be confident in telling companies and drivers what help you need.
- Make a note and complain to the company if you feel the Caring cars code of practice was broken.
- Remember this is not a vetted service, so people must keep themselves safe in the usual way.