Around 10,000 young people leave care every year and they are more vulnerable and more dependent on public services than other young people. This report from Consumer Focus calls for a different response from service providers.
Care leavers do not see themselves as customers, and do not challenge the poor quality customer service they expect public services to offer. They said that too often staff are unfriendly, systems are bureaucratic, and waiting times can be too long. There is a direct relationship between how a service is delivered and the way that care leavers feel about that service.
Where care leavers feel services are not relevant they will not engage with them. This demonstrated the need for improved communication to make services more relevant,
accessible and more approachable to care leavers so they can feel confident accessing services when they need them.
The report recommends supporting open public services and delivering personalised services. Realising open public services for care leavers means delivering on personalisation and facilitating care leavers to demand, and make use of, greater choice and fairer access. Care leavers can be empowered to be active consumers of the services they need if they are given the right help at the right stage of their transition to independent living.