Rating the carers

A new online tool allows people who use childcare or elder care to rate their experience. Workingmums.co.uk spoke to one of the people behind the Good Care Guide.

Are you part of the sandwich generation, raising young children while also caring for elderly parents? Or maybe you have recently suffered a childcare or eldercare emergency?
If so, a new online guide could help you. The Good Care Guide 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.
The Guide aims to “raise the quality of care and transform the way people choose care”. It lets families using childcare or eldercare find and rate care providers.
The Guide was set up in response to a gap in the care market. The Guide’s compilers says there is nowhere on the web to find information about both childcare and eldercare and comment on it.
Denise Burke, one of the compilers from United for All Ages, says: “The idea for the Guide came from the fact that many people nowadays have elderly relatives and young children. The one thing that we know is that people do not start looking for care unless they need it. When you do need it you tend to need it quite quickly and where do you go? Local authorities give lists of care providers, but different authorities have different criteria and it’s a bit of a postcode lottery. We have ratings systems for hotels and restaurants, but if they make mistakes it’s not the end of the earth. With something as important as childcare or eldercare you need to get it right.”
The 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. Individuals can rate providers they have used for their quality of care, facilities and value for money as well as making positive or negative comments.

The Guide was set up in response to concerns about poor care are reflected in recent annual reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted. It 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. The 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. The Guide balances the views of the users alongside official inspection reports. Care providers can subscribe to the Good Care Guide for £60 a year for a more enhanced listing and to respond to comments. The Guide’s compilers say it has built in robust processes to ensure that only users of care comment and providers can challenge false statements.
Denise Burke says: “If the comment is sensitive we will go back to the person who posted it and ask them questions such as have they approached the manager. If the comment is not genuine we will take it down.”
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.”

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