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Independent financial advice resource directory

Introduction

The Care Act 2014 ("the act") enacts some significant changes to the role of local authorities in providing advice and information for local people when arranging adult social care.

One of those significant changes can be found in section 4 of the act and the requirement that local authorities must help people to benefit from independent financial advice, so that they can get support to plan and prepare for the future costs of care.

Local authorities are required to provide comprehensive information and advice about care and support services in their local area. This will help people to understand how care and support services work locally, the care and funding options available, and how people can access care and support services.

The act clearly sets out the general requirements for what information and advice must be provided to local people and how they can find independent financial advice about care and support and help them to access it.

We have produced an Independent Financial Advice Resource Directory to support people to access independent financial advice.

The Care Act guidance states that local authorities are not required to make a direct referral to a single Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) but should instead direct a person to a choice of advisors, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the appropriate qualifications and accreditation.

Directing the person to a choice of advisors means that it is ultimately down to the person, or their representative to choose who they may seek advice from.

The local authority will however support people to make that decision by providing information and advice about the benefits of seeking independent financial information and advice, the range of services on offer (from free, generic sources through to regulated advice) and making clear that some services may charge.

For example, many people move to a care home because they and their family do not realise that continuing to live independently in their own home with suitable care and support is a realistic alternative. If you are funding your own care, you may not be aware of all the available options. It may seem simplest to pay care fees from savings, income or selling your home, but this may not be the best solution.

Therefore, if you need any assistance or further clarification on this information sheet, or need help in accessing a specialist financial advisor, you can contact our Contact Cares Team on 01744 676767 or alternatively via email at contactcares@sthelens.gov.uk