Choice over own Care

This measure is a reflection of West Sussex County Council's drive to offer people choice and independence. Research has indicated that receipt of self-directed support, via personal budgets, has a positive effect in terms of impact on well-being, increased choice and control, cost implications and improving outcomes.

Quarter 1 - June 2017

The annual Adults Social Care User Survey was completed in April and May 2017. Surveys were sent out to customers and carers who currently receive a service from West Sussex County Council – there was a significant improvement in the return of the surveys from 37 % to 51 % and the outcomes were reported in line with the requirements from the Department of Health. The score to the question was 77.6 % which is an improvement on last year. Adult Services undertook a small further survey with residents who had responded to the original survey in April / May 2016. The survey focused on some of the areas where there had been a reduction in scoring. The outcome of the survey showed that residents wanted more advice and information at an earlier stage e.g. on slips, trips and falls. As a result this has influenced the initial design of the new Adult Operating Model which is being tested over the coming months.

Care Funding & Advice

Carewise Care Funding Scheme

People are living longer and for some this may mean moving into a care home. This decision is likely to be one of the most expensive decisions people make in their lives and the prospect of paying for long-term care can feel daunting. Yet many do not seek information and advice to help them consider all the options available and make informed decisions. This sort of planning is vital because based on current estimates, West Sussex residents can expect to pay an average of £50,000 or more per year for a residential care home.

To ensure that the residents of West Sussex have access to high quality information and advice about care and support options and the most cost effective ways of paying for this, our Carewise Care Funding scheme was established by Age UK West Sussex, the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), the County Council’s Adults’ Services and Trading Standards departments and West Sussex Partners in Care.

Carewise has a panel of approved independent specialist financial advisers to help people afford the best quality care at home or in their preferred care home for as long as they need it and so prevent people running out of money and becoming the financial responsibility of the County Council.

Carewise has been operational since 2011 and the County Council has, therefore, been in a good position to evaluate performance over a fairly long period and take action as necessary to refine the model. Consequently, we were well-positioned to meet our duty under the Care Act to ensure that residents have access to impartial financial advice about paying for care and support. This also means that Carewise has evolved into a model that is being used as an exemplar of good practice at a national level, not least because of the high level of customer choice that is built into the model. The successful partnership style and the risk management approach adopted by the County Council have also been highlighted to other local authorities as positive elements of our approach.

Presentations on the Carewise model have been included in TLAP (Think Local, Act Personal)/Department of Health national workshops held to support local authorities in planning to discharge their duty under the Care Act 2014. Carewise has informed the Department of Health final guidance for local authorities on the provision of financial information and advice.

Here’s how financial advice from a Carewise care fees specialist helped one West Sussex family.

Grace* was 84 when her daughter and lawyer asked for advice on covering her care costs. Grace suffered some physical problems and mild dementia which meant that she needed full-time residential care. Grace owned a house and after it was sold that gave her assets of £210,000. We estimated that if Grace did nothing her money would run down and she would need her care to be paid for by the local authority after seven years.

After looking at Grace’s situation we considered a number of options. One option was to arrange an immediate care plan for a premium of £138,000. It would pay her care provider £2,100 a month, which would increase each April by 5% and be payable for her lifetime. However, this option would only leave £72,000 of her estate and Grace and her family were uncomfortable with the idea that such a large sum could be lost if Grace died soon after buying the plan. Instead we agreed that Grace should buy a five-year deferred care plan at a cost of £26,100. This plan has the same long-term benefit as the immediate plan, but will only pay out if Grace still needs care in five years’ time. In the meantime she funds the care from her assets. Overall the long-term cost of this option is greater but Grace and the family were happier with this solution as they would feel that the extra money had been spent on Grace’s care. Once paid, the premium can never be returned, but Grace and her family found the plan gave them great peace of mind. Grace knew that the income from the plan would be there no matter how long she lived. She didn’t have to worry about her money running out and she would still have money to leave an inheritance for her family. On Graces death she will leave an estate between £184,000 and £67,000, depending upon how long she lives.

This is just one example of how Carewise can help people make more informed choices at this sometimes very stressful stage in their lives.

  • Name changed


The potential financial benefits to both individuals and the County Council, and the predicted demographic increase in numbers of older people, particularly those with dementia, over the coming years, means that promotion of the Carewise scheme is imperative. Carefully targeted marketing and promotions campaigns ran throughout 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. A marketing campaign for 2017-18 is now underway using the outcome of evaluation from the previous three years. The marketing aims to ensure that the momentum of past campaigns is maintained and public awareness increased. Working closely with Policy & Communications the 2017-18 campaign will reflect the Adults' Services vision for the future which focuses on increasing people’s independence and wellbeing and encouraging more people to plan early for their long-term care needs in older age.

We know that many people do not immediately want a referral to a care fees specialist but would rather have information in the first instance and then make a measured decision later about whether to proceed. It is, therefore, recognised that the number of referrals is never likely to increase dramatically in a short period of time and that any campaign will take time to yield results. Partners, including the care fees specialists, have advised that the quality of referrals should be a key focus rather than simply aiming to increase the numbers.

Age UK West Sussex provides a free Money Advice service which is part of the Carewise scheme; this service includes benefits advice. Maximising benefit entitlement enables people to purchase care and remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible and can reduce the need for reliance on County Council funding. Increased financial security can also enhance people’s wellbeing, a key principle of the Care Act. In addition, the local economy can benefit from people using their benefits to employ people to provide domiciliary care, personal assistants, gardening etc.

As the 2016-17 targets for referrals to the Carewise care fees specialists were not met, we are maintaining the 2017-18 targets for this measure.

  • 55 people referred to the Carewise care fees specialists per month by the end of March 2017 with an incremental increase throughout the year.
  • -Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service - For 2016. Target for 2017-18 is to maintain 550 individual sessions per month throughout the year.

Marketing and Promotion

The marketing campaign comprises a wide range of promotional channels including social media and digital methods, all of which are subject to robust monitoring and evaluation. As part of the 2016-17 marketing campaign, Carewise was again, one of the main sponsors for West Sussex Care Month which took place during October 2016. This was designed to promote the different care and support options available to residents in West Sussex using a variety of marketing channels such as radio promotions and social media. During the campaign the number of new 'unique' visitors to the Carewise website increased from September to October by over 203% and the number of times the web page was viewed increased by 174% . Care Month is being repeated during October 2017.

REFERRALS TO CAREWISE CARE FEES SPECIALISTS = 23. The target for the number of referrals to the care fees specialists for is 55. The target for March 2018 has not been met.
23 people have received some level of financial advice from the care fees specialists ranging from basic to specialist advice during March 2018. A significant amount of return calls made by the care fees specialists to those who have contacted us culminate with only basic advice being given ( these calls can last for up to 30-45 minutes). This might be because the person has inadequate income or assets, meaning that the care fees specialist is unable to suggest any action that would enable the person to remain a self-funder and preserve assets. Sometimes the care fees specialist is contacted at the very early stages where the person's situation is still uncertain. Whatever the reason might be, usually the care fees specialist can provide useful, timely guidance and information to the caller. This might involve explaining the complex care and benefit system in simple, easy to understand terms. On numerous occasions during the conversation the care fees specialist has identified dthat the person has not claimed Attendance Allowance, or is still receiving the lower amount when they should have applied for the higher amount. Sometimes it is appropriate to direct the caller to colleagues at Age UK West Sussex. If the person has had a positive experience of using Carewise and they choose to spread that message to others that can lead to a good outcome for the scheme.
From April 2017 to March 2018 317 have been referred to a Carewise care fees specialist.
AGE UK WEST SUSSEX MONEY ADVICE SERVICE- The number of individual sessions held by the Money Advice Service (people receiving advice on a specific benefit) for March 2018 = 544 . The target for March 2018 is 550 and the numbers are, therefore, very slightly below target.
From April 2017 to March 2018 the number of individual sessions held by the Money Advice Service  = 6734 ( above target 6600)
The value of additional benefits accessed for people during from April - March 2018 = £3,220,216. This is a significant achievement.
Actions being taken
  • Wide range of marketing activities ongoing
  • Marketing campaign for 2018-19 to be developed.
  • Developing a 'tool kit' for care home providers together with the Contracts Team.
  • Surgeries/seminars in residential care homes on request from providers
  • Requesting providers to host the Carewise logo on their websites
  • Promotional information (including reference to the Carewise offer of support to providers) included in the Contracts provider newsletter re-established in December 2017.
For more information about Carewise visit: 01243 642121 or email:

There is a focus on promoting Carewise at the ‘point of need’; for example, in residential care homes and to domiciliary care providers, to hospital discharge teams, GPs and solicitors, (particularly Solicitors for the Elderly). We held some Carewise ‘surgeries’ in residential care homes and we will be continue to promote the offer as part of the promotional campaign. Carewise also hosted an event for lawyers, 'Be Carewise with your clients' with Continuing Professional Development accreditation on 5th October 2016. The event focussed on promoting the benefits for solicitors of establishing links with the Carewise care fees specialists and included high profile speakers Tish Hanifian, Barrister and founder of the Society of later Life Advisers (SOLLA) and Solicitors for the Elderly and Dave Seager, Development Director at Solicitors for Independent Financial Advice (SIFA). Both speakers praised the Carewise model as one national good practice and highlighted the importance of lawyers referring clients to specialised, highly qualified SOLLA accredited financial advisers . The event was well attended by lawyers from across the county and delegate feedback indicated that the event was well received. Delegates were contacted to offer them opportunity to establish professional links with Carewise care fees specialists in their local area. In addition, invitees who were unable to attend the event were provided with information about how to establish professional links with Carewise care fees specialists nearest to their practice. The care fees specialists continue to visit firms of solicitors on request and to build professional relationships with lawyers/

We continue to issue invites to care home providers to hold Carewise 'surgeries' for their staff, residents and their families. The template recommending that new care home residents access good financial advice which was developed for inclusion in admission packs, has been updated to resemble more of an information flyer. The flyer was circulated to providers and it is being suggested that existing residents are also included. West Sussex Partners in Care (representative body for care providers in West Sussex and a Carewise partner) is playing an increased role in promoting Carewise.

We also visit local organisations and groups to give presentations on request and we seek out promotional activities as part of the ongoing marketing campaign.


Referrals to care fees specialists - 25. The target for the number of referrals to the care fees specialists for February is 52. The target for February 2018 has not been met.

However, 25 people have received some level of financial advice from the care fees specialists ranging from basic to specialist advice. 'Basic advice' can involve care fees specialists engaging in conversations with callers for half and hour or more during which they are proving advice.

Age UK West Sussex - The number of individual sessions held by the Money Advice Service (people receiving advice on a specific benefit) for February 2018 = 575. The target for February 2018 is 550 and it has, therefore been exceeded.

The value of additional benefits accessed for people during from April - February 2018 = £2,911,353.

Actions being taken

  • Marketing campaign for 2017-18. To take into account a focus on the trial sites for the Adults' Services new approach to delivering adult social care.
  • Presentations to domiciliary care provider forum
    • Planning for further coupon promotions
  • Surgeries/seminars in residential care homes on request from providers
  • Renewed focus on promotions to residential and domiciliary care home providers - Contracts Department playing a key role. West Sussex Partners in Care have updated their website to include information about Carewise on their website.

For more information about Carewise visit:, call 01243 642121 or email: