New website helps families find, rate and review childcare and eldercare – from care homes and home care to nurseries
‘Good Care Guide’ (www.goodcareguide.co.uk) is an independent, searchable online database, in the style of consumer websites such as TripAdvisor, giving parents, older people and carers a say about care they have used – just as they can already for hospitals and schools, hotels and restaurants.
Our ageing population and the new baby boom mean that more people need childcare and eldercare. There will be 800,000 more children under the age of 11 by 2020, while the number of people aged over 85 is expected to double in the next twenty years and a growing number of families need childcare, eldercare or both. Spending cuts also mean that more and more people have to pay for care themselves. With a white paper on care due to be published this spring, the government has already said that it wants to see websites like Good Care Guide raise quality of care and transform the way people choose care.
Good Care Guide lets families using childcare or eldercare find and rate care providers. There is nowhere currently on the web to find information about both childcare and eldercare and comment on it, whereas you can easily read reviews about a hotel or restaurant, which is often a one-off visit. The decision involved for eldercare and childcare is a much more important and life changing one given the fact that it is often 24/7 for eldercare or in the case of a child up to 10 hours a day.
Good Care Guide has information on almost 60,000 eldercare and childcare providers in England, including care homes, home care agencies, nurseries and other group childcare settings and childcare and nanny agencies. Good Care Guide enables individuals to rate providers they have used for their quality of care, facilities and value for money as well as making positive or negative comments. It will assist older people and their relatives as well as parents looking for childcare to gather information and real, honest feedback on what is available.
Good Care Guide aims to improve transparency and quality of care by giving families a say following numerous media stories and public concerns about the quality of childcare and eldercare. These concerns about poor care are reflected in recent annual reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted. Good Care Guide will help drive up the standards of care due to greater scrutiny.
Good Care Guide has been developed over the last year by My Family Care and United for All Ages, both organisations working in childcare and eldercare with years of experience advising families. The website has been developed with help from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and a number of national charities. Good Care Guide lists all registered group childcare settings (Ofsted) and care homes and home care agencies (CQC) in England.
Users can search for providers by location and postcode or name and see what comments and star ratings have been made about providers. They can also register to leave comments and star-rate providers against three criteria: quality of care, facilities/environment, and value for money. Good Care Guide balances the views of the users alongside official inspection reports. Care providers can subscribe to Good Care Guide to enhance their listing and to respond to comments. Good Care Guide also allows care providers to report comments, which are then subject to a verification process, as well as alerting the providers when a positive or negative review is posted. Good Care Guide has built in robust processes to ensure that only users of care comment and providers can challenge false statements. Good Care Guide will enable users to praise or criticise care – but if they have serious concerns about care they are using, they should contact the care manager, social services, Ofsted, CQC or the police directly.
Stephen Burke, Director of United for All Ages and a Director of Good Care Guide, says: “Good Care Guide will make it much easier for consumers of care to find out what other people really think about care providers. It’s unique by covering childcare and eldercare, and will provide families with a tool that will enable them to judge the quality of a provider from the honest feedback of other users and enable care users to share their experiences, good or bad. We hope that Good Care Guide becomes a deciding factor in choosing care after someone has read the official inspection report as well as visited the provider.”
Ben Black, Managing Director of My Family Care and a Director of Good Care Guide, comments: “Genuine user feedback has been a long time coming to the care industry. We’re glad to be making it a reality.”
My Family Care – Making work+family work. My Family Care is the leading provider of family friendly solutions to companies in the UK and internationally. My Family Care is passionate about helping employers with their work+family strategies and implementing employee solutions. Our vision is to prove that the employee who combines career and family successfully can be the most engaged and productive member of any team. My Family Care services include Consultancy & Training, Care Search, Backup Care, and Life Transition Coaching. www.myfamilycare.co.uk
United for All Ages is a social enterprise that aims to build a stronger Britain by bringing younger and older people together through shared sites, shared caring and shared interests. Launched in 2010, United is working with councils, charities, universities and companies to make ‘Britain for all ages’ a reality. United for All Ages was set up by Stephen Burke and Denise Burke who both have substantial experience in childcare and eldercare. Stephen was chief executive of two national charities, Daycare Trust and Counsel and Care, and was cabinet member for social services and vice-chair of a primary care trust in a London borough. Denise led on childcare for Peterborough city council and headed up youth and childcare for the Mayor of London as well as being chair of BBC Children in Need for London and the South East. Stephen is now co-chair of Grandparents Plus and trustee of several older people’s charities. United for All Ages has focused on developing ‘care for all ages’ and ‘centres for all ages’. www.unitedforallages.com