22 May 2023
by Stuart Ives

How tech & data support person-centred care for LAs, staff & citizens (Guest blog by The Access Group)

Guest blog by Stuart Ives, Product and Engineering Director for Local Government at Access HSC. #LPSInnovation

Outline piece

Successful innovation involves invention, adoption and diffusion. Creating an innovation-friendly ecosystem across the care continuum requires tools that answer the needs of local authorities, staff and service users so they are adopted and diffused. Thankfully, multiple examples are available.

Organisations transformed by technology

Local authorities need data to commission services, and demand and activity modelling enables councils to identify and forecast the needs and behaviour of their service users. Middlesbrough Council, for example, has used such data to accurately identify the number of social care beds required within a 1-2% variance.

When councils want to select the right providers, digitised procurement processes pre-evaluate suppliers for compliance to aid rapid mobilisation and broaden the market. Milton Keynes City Council saved over £750k by using such tech to create a more competitive market for SEND transport services.

Councils want real-time data on how services are performing and achieving agreed outcomes. Learning disability support service Independence Matters uses care monitoring technology to see if home visits are missed or late, whilst digitised feedback from service users can provide insight into provider performance.

Value for money is easier to identify with data. Worcestershire County Council uses provider assessment technology to compare spend and impact across different client groups and service providers, so it can tailor its care provision more efficiently.

Staff benefit from data, cloud, and mobile

For frontline staff, technology must bring tangible benefits. Cloud-based systems that centralise data and mobile solutions that work offline give teams greater data visibility at the point of care regardless of location, and underpin successful interdepartmental collaboration.

Centralised data enables professionals and authenticated partners to work together around people’s needs, using cloud-based systems that provide a single version of the truth and can come with enhanced cybersecurity measures.

Mobile technology enables staff to update service users’ needs, access notes at the point of care and – like staff at Oxfordshire Children’s and Families Service and Dumfries and Galloway Council - be told when rotas change.

People get faster and more responsive support

People expect fast and responsive care services, and automation and innovation are key. Wren Housing, for example, automatically checked over 8,000 safety certificates across 200 different listings to help it place over 1,500 families in safe temporary accommodation.

Digital telecare brings responsive care to the home in places such as Jersey, where digital alarms enhance an individual’s safety and independence as part of a new person-centred model of care. Further innovations track day-to-day behaviour to warn of behaviour changes that could cause concern.

Meanwhile, AI enables citizens to engage councils more efficiently. Newcastle City Council, for example, saved £500k using an AI chatbot to allow residents to access household recycling centres. These ‘wastebots’ take just 90 seconds to process an application, compared to 14 days previously.

Take the right approach to digital transformation

Ultimately, technology can help improve community wellbeing and help create a better place to live by answering the needs of local authorities, their staff and service users.

However, organisations looking to create a digital ecosystem for innovation must take the right path to digital transformation.

First, they should digitise existing processes. Next, they need to integrate and simplify those processes through digitalisation. Finally, digital transformation requires coordinating culture, workforces, and technology to innovate new processes that transform a service’s operations, strategic decisions, and value proposition.

Taking the right approach increases the potential for technology to improve productivity and deliver better outcomes whilst managing risks and controlling costs. Public services across the UK are showing the rest of the country how it can be done.

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Stuart Ives

Stuart Ives

Product and Engineering Director for Local Government, Access HSC