Headlines: January 26th, 2001

Older people have revealed in a large-scale survey that they are keen to embrace joined-up customer-orientated public services.Far from shying away from change, people over 50 have been asking the Government to join up services which they make most use of – including local authorities, social services, Inland Revenue, National Health Service and the voluntary sector.

The finding is among a series which will be useful to anyone providing services for older people, discovered in a study published by the Department of Social Security.

The department ordered the study as part of the Better Government for Older People (BGOP) programme.

The report follows in-depth qualitative research with Benefits Agency (BA) staff, stakeholders (representatives from organisations other than the BA) and customers.

Other main findings:

Customers and staff feel that benefits advice for those aged 50+ is most effectively delivered by a combination of different methods, including a ‘high street location’, a home visits service, a dedicated helpline and travelling advisors to reach out to older people in the community, particularly in rural areas.

Information surgeries appealed to customers especially when conveniently located, on familiar neutral territory and where interviews can be private. They are less satisfactory with too explicit BA branding.

Modernising Service Delivery: Better Government for Older People Prototypes (DSS Research Report 136), ISBN 1 84123 3005. Summaries are available free at www.dss.gov.uk/asd