Councils receive LGA funding for digital social care projects

A number of councils have been awarded funding for projects which use digital technology to transform and improve social care.

As part of the Local Government Association’s Local Investment Programme, which is funded by NHS Digital, 16 councils will each receive up to £50,000 towards their projects.

The application process was based around five themes:

  • Sharing information and integrating services
  • Enabling people to interact with care services through digital channels
  • Promoting independence and wellbeing through the use of digital services and technology
  • Integrating commissioning through the improved use of information and analysis
  • Enabling care professionals to work from any base at any time

While many proposals were broad ranging in scope, some focussed on specific ideas, such as supporting people with particular conditions such as dementia, or on issues like carer isolation.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “We were extremely impressed by the interest shown in the programme and the high quality of the bids we received.

“Technology can never be a replacement for care, but it can play a really effective role in helping people to live at home for longer, as well as support professionals and commissioners to target services where they have the greatest impact.

“Many councils are already harnessing the powers of digital technology to transform social care services and support integration with health partners.”

Councils received funding for the following projects:


Theme 1: Sharing information and integrating services

Projects in this theme are using information and technology to support the direct care of individuals.

Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council
Luton and Central Bedfordshire Councils are piloting work which enables care homes to access electronic shared care records with health services. As well as supporting citizens’ transfer between settings, the project will provide Wi-Fi within care homes that will enable other benefits, such as electronic consultations with clinicians.

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
Sefton Council is developing a digital pathway to better manage homecare provision across the Liverpool City Region.  This includes, for example, a joined-up process for requesting home care services and a real-time view of service requests, delivery and capacity.

Norfolk County Council
Norfolk Council is piloting a client referral system within their customer service centre which allows the Council to generate, track and follow-up social care client referrals to local voluntary and statutory organisations.


Theme 2: Enabling people to interact with care services through digital channels

These projects are focused upon the use of digital channels to support the management and delivery of care.

London Borough of Harrow
Harrow Council is working with NHS Harrow CCG to extend their My Community ePurse (MCeP) system, which supports the purchasing of social care and equipment from personal budgets, to include those in receipt of Personal Health Budgets.

Essex County Council
Essex County Council is piloting video calls as part of care packages for individuals using their short-term support and reablement service. The project will allow individuals to make video calls, through their existing television set, with friends, family and health and social care practitioners.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Stockton-on-Tees Council is developing a solution to allow their Online Care Plan tool to be shared, with all professionals who have explicit consent, in order that clients only have to tell their story once.


Theme 3: Promoting independence and wellbeing through the use of digital services and technology

This theme is about using information and technology to assist citizens to stay independent, support wellbeing and prevent the escalation of crises.

Hampshire County Council
Hampshire Council is seeking to trial the use of the Amazon Echo (voice-activated home audio speaker) with 50 adult social care service users.  Users will be able to use Echo to ask for basic information.  In addition, Echo will be used to provide TV alerts (for example about medication) and help citizens engage with family members and carers.

Bath & North East Somerset Council
Bath & North East Somerset Council is piloting a range of assistive technology (AT) apps and devices within their reablement and rehabilitation service. The Council is developing an integrated approach with AT as a central part of the referral and assessment process and care packages.

London Borough of Barnet
Barnet Council is piloting care technology to support 18 servicer users with complex learning disabilities based in supported living services; the longer-term aim is roll out technology to at least 75 per cent of supported living service users in Barnet.


Theme 4: Integrating commissioning through the improved use of information and analysis

Projects in this theme are using information and technology to make decisions that deliver better outcomes or value for money.

Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Council is using a tool to measure the impact of non-medical interventions on the health and care system. The project seeks to develop a methodology, using secondary data, for supporting and assessing prevention and social prescribing interventions.

Wolverhampton City Council
Wolverhampton Council is leading work across the West Midlands to bring together health and social care data, and use predictive analytics, to improve commissioning. The project involves fourteen local authorities in the region.

Kent County Council
Kent Council is creating a digital tool for assessing the effectiveness of its voluntary sector Care Navigation approach, including its impact on outcomes for individuals. The project includes developing an app, which will record intelligence on the outcomes for citizens who are signposted to support as they do not qualify for statutory assistance.


Theme 5: Enabling care professionals to work from any base at any time

These projects are supporting professionals to deliver care more efficiently and effectively, and work collaboratively across organisations.

Plymouth City Council
Plymouth Council is enabling supported living providers to access care management and data collection systems. This will ensure that activity and cost information can be recorded at the point of care delivery through mobile devices.This approach will enhance commissioning intelligence, including by understanding which early intervention and prevention approaches are most effective.

Peterborough City Council
Peterborough Council is working with Cambridgeshire County Council, to align social care systems, to support integrated working across council boundaries. As part of this project, business process analysis will identify the optimal opportunities for multi-disciplinary team working and interoperability.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Solihull Council is seeking to provide Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMPHs) and the Best Interests Assessors (BIAs) with effective mobile technology. Each AMHP or BIA will have a mobile device with live access to the relevant Information Management System which will enable them to make decisions informed by accurate clinical, social care and risk data.

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