Council awarded funding to explore social care digital innovation ideas
Shropshire Council has been chosen by NHS Digital and the Local Government Association (LGA) to explore how technology could help shape the future of social care.
The council is one of 12 local authorities to have been picked for the programme which has been commissioned by NHS Digital and the LGA for digital pilots by councils that will benefit people who access social care and improve services.
Each council will be awarded £20,000 each, as part of the first ‘discovery’ phase of funding, to investigate local challenges that could be addressed using digital technology. Six will then be chosen to receive further funding of up to £80,000 to design and implement their solution.
James Palmer, Programme Lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said;
“The successful projects span a wide range of areas, from assistive technologies to predictive analytics. This funding will give the local authorities a chance to identify and investigate a local problem before testing out a potential solution. They will be sharing their experiences from the pilot projects, adding to our collective knowledge of how digital can effectively be used to support the delivery of adult social care.
“There are some really exciting proposals this year and I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes.”
Elected Mayor Kate Allsop, Deputy Chair of the LGA’s Community and Wellbeing Board, said;
“The councils selected have chosen some important areas to address ranging from exploring new methods of linking residents with community resources to addressing social care provider workforce shortages.
“In the next three months they will be engaging with users to explore whether there are digital solutions to improve the lives and experiences of people needing social care. Projects will be designed around the needs of service users and complement the work of health and social care professionals. We will ensure that learning is shared across the sector.”
Shropshire’s digital pilot
Shropshire Council will be using the funding to further explore its ‘Redesign and Empower the Care and Provider market’ (RECap) project.
One of the biggest challenges facing the social care system today is care demand outstripping the markets ability to supply placements at a price and quality that is sustainable. The current social care model often relies on expensive care packagers rather than looking at how we can keep people living productive and fulfilling lives closer to home, and within the communities they live in.
The RECap programme is being delivered in partnership with West Midlands ADASS and local partners from across Shropshire. The programme will focus on combining large data sets and applying predictive analytics and other data methods, to better understand the current demand in social care, to enable organisations to predict and prevent future demand. This approach will help inform the way the council and its partners commission services in the future.
Andy Begley, Director of Adult Services and Housing and Co-Chair of West Midlands ADASS said;
“Our RECap programme looks to address the growing demand in social care by working with providers to co-design a system that will deliver the insight needed to help prevent people’s health and wellbeing deteriorate to the point where they need extensive and costly support. Across the west midlands our projections indicate that demand will continue to increase. We have therefore started to consider how we can begin taking control of the situation through gaining a better understanding of the contributing factors that influence demand. By taking this approach we can place more emphasis on prevention and activities such as social prescribing as well as analysing the impact that social care provision has on the local economy.
“The programme will provide us with the insight and tools to predict and prevent crisis by addressing the needs of older and vulnerable people, and those with chronic diseases much earlier and help keep them safe and well in their own homes for longer. It will also enable our care market and community based organisations to apply their resources more efficiently.”
The ‘discovery phase’ of the RECap programme, will involve working with frontline staff from across the health, social care and voluntary and community sector and with residents who use these services. This is to get a better understanding of the problems surrounding market fragility, the resources we have to hand to develop solutions, what needs and outcomes must be met, what potential solutions there are, how successful those solutions may be, and what resources are needed to bring the solutions to bare (if not already done so). By the end of this phase we will be able to develop an informed plan for future phases.
For more information about NHS Digital and the LGA for digital pilots visit www.local.gov.uk/scdip.
In total, 80 local authorities applied for the funding, out of a total of 133 councils that were eligible. The successful councils are:
- Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
- Bracknell Forest Council
- South Tyneside Council
- Lincolnshire County Council
- Nottingham City Council
- London Borough of Havering
- London Borough of Haringey
- Shropshire Council
- Cambridgeshire County Council
- Isle of Wight Council
- Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sunderland City Council
Partners involved in Shropshire’s RECap project include
- Shropshire Council
- Shropshire CCG
- Shropshire Fire Service
- West Mercia Police
- West Midlands ADASS
- Shropshire Partners in Care
- Shropshire Council’s Public Health
Shropshire Council have started to address the challenges within the social care provider market, with our brokerage system, in terms of creating a visible pipeline of business for providers and creating a transparent purchasing process. This web based platform has already significantly impacted the way we interact with the provider market as a whole. Positive visibility for commissioners and providers and helped us to apply resources more efficiently whilst managing / reducing costs.