Adult Social Care Digital Innovation Programme Update
We were one of 12 councils awarded £30,000 in funding from the Local Government Association, as part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme 2019-21, to investigate ‘how we might enable service users and carers to access information about their care services to give them more control‘.
Between April and October 2019, we delivered a detailed engagement with service users and carers in Kirklees and asked people to tell us their experiences of accessing information about their adult social care services or the services of someone the care for. Our engagement set out to understand:
- what information and services our service users and carers need to access?
- what people’s current experience is, including any barriers or frustrations they face and whether there is opportunity to make improvements?
- what benefits or barriers online services could bring to service users and carers, including where assisted online services might be useful?
How we engaged
With funding provided by NHS Digital we recruited an experienced research partner, Lagom Strategy, to help us deliver our engagement. Working in partnership, our project team engaged with service users, carers, paid advocates, telephony staff and social workers to gather insight through a mixture of telephone interviews, workshops and surveys, which were completed self-service online and assisted in Huddersfield Library, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Dewsbury District Hospital and at the Kirklees Involvement Network.
What people told us
We gathered valuable insight into:
- how people contact Kirklees Adult Social Care
- who contacts Kirklees Adult Social Care
- what people’s contact preferences are
- how comfortable people are with doing things online is and what appetite there is for online self-service in future.
We identified 40 individual information access needs. Based on the insight gathered, we:
- collated and reviewed data from our internal systems to understand the importance of each need
- built an example care account and tested it with a sample of service users, carers, adult social care telephony advisors and social workers to gather feedback
- and reviewed existing care accounts available on the market to understand whether they could meet the needs identified.
What were the findings of the report?
The full engagement findings and a short, animated, video showing the highlights are now available:
What are the next steps?
We have applied for additional funding from the Local Government Association to help us deliver a self-service adult social care account.
We plan to further develop our example care account to create a working product, working closely with service users and carers, to ensure the account meets the needs of our service users and carers needs as found through our engagement. We will then pilot the care account with a selection of people so that we can gather feedback, measure how well used it is and understand the benefits it could bring to adult social care services users and carers both within Kirklees, but also nationwide, if rolled out wider.
The provision of the care account will be targeted at better meeting the needs of service users and carers who prefer the flexibility, transparency and increased control that an online service could provide, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. The care account will provide an additional way to access information about adult social care services and will not replace the telephone and face to face contact methods provided currently by Kirklees Adult Social Care.
We know that maintaining traditional telephone and face-to-face contact is very important to our service users and carers, to ensure that urgent needs can be met, complex conversations can be held and those who are unable or prefer not to do things online continue to be supported effectively.
We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views and experiences of accessing information about adult social care services in Kirklees through our engagement. The insights you gave us directly shaped the vision for how we could improve our information access offer in Kirklees Adult Social Care to better support the needs of our service users and carers.