The Care Xchange is a new approach to engaging carers, co-designed by local authorities working with leading technical developers and employment experts. The aim is to increase the pool of vetted care-givers from within a community and as a result deliver more flexible and appropriate care services to those in need.
By combining a digital and an on-the-ground approach, the Care Xchange is a proactive, flexible approach to carer recruitment. It engages both with trained carers either working in or outside the sector, as well as encouraging people who might not have thought of caring as a career option into the sector.
The Labour Xchange is a proven digital platform which addresses employment – and for the first time the seven million people in the UK people who are ‘underemployed’ – from a different angle. Rather than the current system whereby employers state the times and skills that a job requires, via the Labour Xchange people confirm when they are available and what their skills are, to then be matched up with employment opportunities.
This means that those people who are currently care givers (either as parents or caring for a relative), those who have taken early retirement, people on zero hours contracts, students or people who simply want to work part-time can be brought into employment in a flexible but sustainable way.
The platform already works successfully in the logistics and hospitality sectors and with the support of North Yorkshire County Council and Sunderland City Council is currently being repurposed to address the care sector. Specifically in the first phase the project is looking at growing the pool of carers and support self-funders.
The collaboration is driven from a number of angles:
- The need to address the growing carer shortage
- Need to train and upskill people and provide employment opportunities – not only in care – but more widely
- An acknowledged lack of oversight of the self-funder market
- A desire to proactively engage with communities around employment and economic growth
- Seeking to support a more holistic, personalised, longer term vision for care more widely
Using a proven platform and engagement model this project is adapting an existing approach via council co-design rather than starting from scratch, which reduces duplication, is more cost effective and gets everyone to their goal more quickly.
DISCOVERY PHASE & CO-DESIGN WORKSHOP
Following a co-design workshop and onsite assessment around carer engagement, wider commissioning practices and the care provision process, Labour Xchange is now building a ‘Care Pathway’ to sit within their digital platform. This will take potential carers step by step through a process to ensure they are fit for the work (both physically and emotionally), that they have the right credentials and checks as well as the capacity and capability to work in the sector.
The workshop raised a whole raft of questions and considerations that will be addressed as part of the discovery phase and resulting development.
Starting from a position of ‘what does good look like?’, the group covered everything from levels of care, hire scenarios, safeguarding risks and reporting, DBS checks and document validation, contract management, renewals, employee/employer status, data governance all the way through to reviews and ratings, reporting metrics, CQC engagement and more.
Whilst there was a lot covered in the day, there were some interesting headline findings to come out:
- By sharing their challenges & working practices North Yorkshire, Sunderland and Labour Xchange now have an agreed common approach & design
- There are a lot of manual tasks or steps in the current process that can be made digital to be more efficient
- Areas such as employer status of self funders, legislation and relationship management all need to be addressed in detail
- Confirmation of the ideal reporting requirements which will give councils better sight of the self funding market and potentially feed into wider ASC commissioning practice
- The platform will improve the availability and utilization of carers, plus increase skills and training
Labour Xchange is now working through the discovery phase outputs to design and build the Carer Pathway. In parallel with this they are beginning the candidate engagement process in both Sunderland and North Yorkshire, each will have different approaches due to their urban/rural differences.
During this phase both councils will continue to iteratively sign off development, and a beta version of the Care Xchange will go out for user acceptance testing in December 2019.
Care Xchange will be live across both councils early Spring. With a release version available to others across local government soon after.
GET IN TOUCH
We are happy to go into more detail about this project with you at any stage. There will be updates along the way and but should you like to be kept more closely in touch with the work, please get in touch.