Driving Innovation in ASC: Outsourcing Care & Support Assessments

CC2i is in the process of bringing a collaboration of like-minded local authorities together to co-design an outsourced or ‘trusted assessor’ model to address the growing backlogs of care and support assessments, with outsourcing and call centre experts Reed in Partnership. 

We know there is interest in developing a ‘trusted assessor’ model, with regional groups looking at how it could work and a number of councils issuing tenders looking for outsourcing options. 

Having discussed the project and ‘tested the water’ with a number of local authorities, we held the first collaboration webinar on May 17th, with 40 people from over 30 councils registering.  The session covered everything from the challenges and expected benefits of outsourcing assessments, to project detail and collaboration approach.

There were a number of key discussion points during the session:

  • The complexity of care and support assessments
  • The manageable number of assessments a council would want an outsourced partner to deliver
  • The impact of additional assessments on financial assessment teams, as well as colleagues further down the ASC system
  • The benefits of professionals having ‘eyes on’ the client, and the – sometimes subtle – information a face to face assessment can provide
  • What was the best approach for an outsourced model? Could it work for both new assessments, or should it just be reviews? Could the model work better for one cohort than another?
  • How would assessments be ‘digitally handed over’ to the council and how would that interface with current systems and processes

The planned project approach would see a dedicated call centre team of experienced care needs assessors contacting people and undertaking the care and support assessment (C&SA) either via video (if possible) or on the telephone. The team would use the digital CSA platform BetterCare Support – which was co-designed with six councils – to drive the conversation, ensuring standardisation of approach and consistency of assessment. 

Whilst initial estimates suggest that each member of the team could undertake six assessments a day, this is what the project plans to test. It may be that this is not achievable – or even desired. The project team has also started work on baselining the financial benefits outsourcing could offer, although we doubt any council will be driven to participate in the collaboration purely from a financial saving perspective, rather a desire to innovate, to test the approach, ensure it is safe, suitable, and consider the impacts in the round.

Interestingly, we found a number of councils actively testing trusted assessor models locally, not all for care and support assessments, but also carer assessments and reviews. Some were working with small local agencies, health partners and/or care providers, whilst others were developing in-house provider models. 

So we know we are on the right track with this collaboration, that we need to help solve the challenge of growing assessment numbers and the demand on ASC services, whilst being mindful of the wider impact increasing assessment numbers can have on the system as a whole. We hope the collaboration of councils keen to move forward and test outsourcing with Reed in Partnership will be confirmed before the summer break – with an aim to start work in earnest in August/September.