Digital innovation in adult social care: how we’ve been supporting communities during COVID-19 - executive summary

The Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) commissioned the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University to work with councils in capturing examples of social care digital innovation across local government in a new report.


What we have done, what we have learned and what next for digital innovation in adult social care."

We are all affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our daily lives. Despite the many challenges, we have seen the adult social care sector and more broadly local government adapt at scale and pace to support communities through this time.

Technology has had a significant role to play in supporting the work of councils, in collaboration with local partners and communities.

Councils have adapted to new challenges to protect vulnerable people from risk of infection whilst making sure they continue to receive personalised care and support. They have worked creatively with providers to ensure that care workers, who are self-isolating and unable to care in person, can continue to work. They have also had to find easy and safe ways for family members, neighbours, volunteers and local community services to play their part in supporting people.

Councils are increasingly putting themselves at the forefront of using technology to sustain and enhance important activities that help keep people stay connected, safe and well.

However, whilst progress is being made, councils are facing extraordinary and ongoing funding pressures. Only 4 per cent of directors of adult social care are fully confident that their budget is sufficient to meet statutory duties. Unsurprisingly, this reduces the ability for councils to invest in technology and digital services sustainably and makes it challenging to find evidence to make the business case for technology, innovate at scale or move beyond one-off funded projects.

We know that technology alone will not solve all the challenges facing social care and the NHS, but it can, under the right conditions, be an enabler of preventative, personalised and joined up care and support.

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