Looking Local

Adult Social Services Digital Care & Support Assessment

Following on from a Discovery phase project we are planning to develop a digital Care & Support Assessment solution for both staff and their customers.

WHO IS DRIVING THIS PROJECT?

Coventry City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Council are already on board for this project with only six spaces remaining. Their reasons are outlined below:

“In Coventry we have recently introduced our Strengths Based Practice (SBP) framework. The introduction of a self-care assessment process will help build on our SBP approach by increasing the public’s capacity to collaborate on the production of their own assessments and reviews. We see the joint development approach with other local authorities, facilitated by CC2i, as a way in which we can undertake the necessary work to achieve these outcomes, whilst sharing the associated costs” – Marc Greenwood, Head of Business Systems and Continuous Improvement

Solihull is committed to supporting people to self-serve and complete assessments in the least intrusive way. The introduction of a supported self-assessment will allow people to provide information themselves, in their own words, supported by visual solutions to assist them with completing the assessment. The development of the assessment, in collaboration with other Local Authorities and CC2i will allow us to meet our objectives and outcomes, whilst sharing learning and costs.” – Laura Harwood, Digital Programme Manager – Adult Care and Support

THE PROPOSAL

The Care Act introduced additional pressures on an already stretched Adult Social Care (ASC) service. With increasing volumes and an ageing population this vital service will continue to feel the strain, and struggle if left unchanged. 

Our proposal is to bring together ASC service heads to develop the prototype into a minimum viable product (MVP) for care needs self assessment. Building on the Discovery project that we undertook with Kent County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Stockton on Tees, the MVP will take users through a rich audio visual triage experience to determine what their care needs are whilst retaining the appropriate level of expert/staff intervention. We see the resulting product being used out in the field by Social Workers as well as a tool for self-service.

To ensure take-up, any commissioned product would require user-centred design from the start. We can anticipate features such as advocacy use to allow family/friends/staff to support customers in their application and offline features to support staff during home visits where no connectivity is available.

The Discovery phase told us that the solution should be a mobile first development, but work elegantly on tablets, laptops, desktops, mobile. The solution should provide facility for advocates/staff/family to support remotely. The platform will include a facility to allow a professional to add their comments/view of the user’s needs to sit alongside the user’s own view of their needs.

Following this next phase the resulting minimum viable product will have value to all partners and providing a solid base from which to work and build.

CURRENT CO-FUNDERS

HEADLINE BUSINESS CASE

Many councils we have spoken with are assessing digital tools to support the delivery of adult social care. Looking Local has tackled the Financial Assessment side of this equation in it’s BetterCare product and know that up to 80% of this audience are capable of self-serving digitally. 

The costs of delivering home visits are expensive. Figures from councils we have engaged with to date are in excess of £100 per visit. There is clearly a lot at stake: significant savings potentially, but this needs to be considered against a user base which includes a significant proportion of vulnerable people, so there is no room to get it wrong.

Self-service needs assessments aren’t without their challenges. We have to acknowledge that safeguarding concerns exist, and address these directly within the project and the resulting product. The current processes are unsustainable with current budget pressures. Instead we need to work towards adopting tools for customers to be able to assess themselves and introduce practices which ensure vulnerable customers get the support they need from social care staff who are already over stretched.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Led by public-sector analysts and innovative technology designers/developers, this proposed work will deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a digital self-service/assisted self-service approach to the Care Needs Assessments processes. To include:

  • Scripts for all 10 areas of the Care Act and their corresponding animations
  • A framework workflow to house the video animations and data capture
  • Digital triage designed around the animations   
  • An experience to deliver the findings of the needs assessment for users and staff to determine the package of care required.
  • Consideration around the needs for integration with back office ASC systems

WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR?

We believe there is c. 280 days of development required to produce a platform to house the animations, triage and data capture along with the associated security and identity management that will be required. As part of our discovery work we went out to the market to establish the costs for producing high quality animations. We believe there is around 38 minutes of animations each lasting around 15 seconds split across the 10 areas.

We believe a grouping of eight LAs is needed to make this collaborative approach work; It’s anticipated that each organisation would nominate a lead ASC officer for one day a month (max) to steer the development and provide subject matter expertise.

Looking Local analysts would require:

  • Access to ASC assessment processes, systems and overview of caseload statistics;
  • Active involvement via email, telephone and online groups to ensure information delivery and report success; 
  • Active involvement and contribution to the development, review and report processes.

LA’s involved in the cofund will be rebated £5,000 per annum for the first four years the product is licensed for use in each of their respective areas – ensuring involvement in the project is entirely cost neutral. All councils involved will be directly involved in shaping the proposed pricing to ensure it is fair, equitable and outstanding value along with a strong associated business case.

TIME-FRAMES

Twenty eight to thirty two weeks.

RELATED PROJECTS/WORK OF NOTE:

BetterCare focuses on redesigning and digitising the Financial Assessment for Care and was driven by Kirklees Council in the first phase. The resulting MVP – and now full product – was based on a significant piece of in-depth analysis undertaken from all stakeholder perspectives. 

This understanding of the end-to-end process, challenges, customer behaviour insight laid on top of a deep and valuable understanding of both digital tools and online user habits, led to a solution that will save £400k in the first year of deployment. and a reduction in failed care packages from 24% to 17% in its first 8 weeks of implementation.

The BetterCare solution is now live in Kirklees Council and is in the process of local analysis and deployment at a number of other councils.

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