The Commission for Social Care Inspection used mystery shoppers to call 150 councils. In 65% of cases they were put through to the right person first time, but five calls were abandoned after the shopper was unable to get through after six attempts.
Most were impressed by the knowledge of the person they spoke to, though some felt overwhelmed by irrelevant information or by social care jargon.
Many officers told callers of the need for an assessment but “there appeared to be an assumption that the shopper would know what an ‘assessment’ was and how it was carried out,” the commission said.
Chief inspector Paul Snell said: “Just as people have a universal right to a care assessment from their council, they should also have a right to good information to help them make decisions about their care, or the care of a friend or relative.”