Stop & Go Project: connecting technology and social care companies

Liverpool City Council linked its homecare providers with technology providers. The impact has been much more significant than it originally envisaged, leading to the uptake of technological care solutions across the city, bringing in £1 million euros of additional funding to social care and leading to better outcomes for people using services. This case study forms part of our adult social care markets and commissioning resource.


The challenge

  • Liverpool thought that its adult social care providers weren’t very well linked in with technology firms.
  • Both the council and the providers didn’t know what was available in the technology market that could significantly improve service delivery.
  • Unless this situation changed people in the area weren’t likely to benefit from new technology developments in adult social care that could improve outcomes for them and reduce costs for the council.

The solution

The council decided to set up a project to connect social care and technology firms using speed dating events to link the two sectors as part of a European Commission-funded STOP & GO procurement programme set up to develop innovative procurement approaches.

The council also worked closely with the central government Knowledge Transfer Network.

The project objectives were to:

  • develop a common procurement template for health and social care for older people
  • encourage interaction with other countries
  • encourage technical Innovation.

The STOP & GO project focused on:

  1. procuring services enabled by technology instead of “just” innovative technology itself
  2. using technology that already existed as there was no funding for the development of new technology.

The procurement process included a Market Consultation Day at Anfield Stadium matching 20 care providers and 50 tech companies using a “speed dating” approach. Liverpool expected a dynamic clash of cultures because Liverpool homecare services at that time had low take up of new technology. Care providers chose which technology suited their business need. The council facilitated the hook up between the care and technology providers.

The impact

Initially 300,000 euros were levered into the adult social care market. This has now risen to over £1 million euros. The funding had been helpful in funding provider startup costs when making technological changes to service delivery. Licenses are particularly expensive and the funding really helped with this issue. The funding also assisted with funding the hardware needed for care staff such as smart phones and tablets.

Since 2016 the initiative has also helped Liverpool increase the size of the local homecare market from five to 20 care companies and led to the uptake of a new digital system across the community. District nurses are now also being included, so it’s been far more successful than the original aspirations envisaged.

The PASS Digital care records system has been taken up across Liverpool. This uses smart phone technology so that carers swipe a QR code when they arrive in a house, recording tasks and outcomes to be achieved. Families can get an app to see in real time what activity has taken place and companies have a dashboard to see in real time if any outcomes are outstanding.

Liverpool has also networked with councils across Europe and presented this project in Vienna, Tallin and Coimbra.

How is the new approach being sustained?

Care companies have now adopted the new technology absorbing the costs into ongoing budgets.

Lessons learned

The “speed dating” approach really worked and Liverpool found that technology suppliers and care providers naturally found the partners that were most suitable to them. Some inappropriate technology firms came along to the event but this didn’t cause issues because the homecare providers didn’t take up their services.

Liverpool City Council learned that providers need more lead in time than expected, more training and education and that transferring data from paper records to digital records takes time.

It also learned that not all carers were prepared to take on the new system and that the technology market in health and social care is immature. Implementing technological change can be a particular challenge for smaller providers in sustaining their business model.

In particular Liverpool advises that other councils should not underestimate the startup funding needed to make changes.

The benefits however are significant because real time monitoring drives up quality by highlighting issues.

Next steps

Liverpool is now planning for the implementation of 5G and it is part of a unique and innovative consortium made up of public sector health and social care suppliers, the NHS, university researchers, third sector organisations, agile local SMEs and leading UK 5G technology vendors.

It wants to:

  1. demonstrate the potential for 5G networks to make positive impacts on health outcomes over the next five years
  2. show that 5G can reduce the digital divide and access to services
  3. evidence how 5G health and social care applications fit into the next wave of regional infrastructure development
  4. prove the potential for UK and international commercial exploitation of the Liverpool solution
  5. prove the viability of deploying Open Source 5G networking software.

Contact

Ann Williams
Commissioning and Contract Manager
Liverpool City Council
0151 233 0802
ann.williams@liverpool.gov.uk

Links to relevant documents

PASS System: a digital care management platform that provides single view of care records from enquiry, medication and task changes. Also automates the process of assessments. 

LoRaWAN technology: uses Internet of Things technology to monitor ambient circumstances of homes. Opens options for new models of care working with families and Registered Social Landlords. Find out more about this initiative.