Commission to explore role of technology in social care reform

Two national care bodies have joined forces to make recommendations on the role of digital in a reformed adult social care system.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the TEC Services Association (TSA) have set up a commission to explore how better access to technology could improve joint working in social care and offer more preventative, responsive support, shaped around the individual.

ADASS said the commission will bring together influential figures from government, the health, care and housing sectors and the technology-enabled care (TEC) industry.

The voice of service users will be represented by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and a number of leading technology suppliers will also join the Commission.

Chaired by internationally renowned Spanish health care leader, Rafael Bengoa who is Co-Director of The Institute for Health and Strategy in Bilbao, Spain, the Commission will hear evidence on effective models of technology-enabled care via UK and international best practice case studies.

In March 2021, the Commission will launch its final report, which will include a series of practical recommendations to central and local government on how to scale up and mainstream the use of everyday devices, data insights and specialist technology to extend people’s healthy lifespans and enrich their lives.

Iain MacBeath, strategic director of Health and Wellbeing at City of Bradford Metropolitan District and ADASS Honorary Treasurer said: ‘We set up this commission because of a recognition by directors of adult social services that more needs to be done to integrate technology with social care.

‘We bolt it on the side of services but rarely commission anything integrated or innovative and this just can’t continue.

‘Over the next 25 years, the number of 85-year-olds will double, and all people will expect technology to play a crucial role in supporting individuals.

‘This Commission will encourage local authority leaders to procure social care services in a different way so they lead the process and technology manufacturers can respond and invest appropriately.’

Senior woman with female caregiver

Alyson Scurfield, CEO of TSA said: ‘Over the last few months, technology-enabled care has been a lifeline, improving people’s quality of life during very difficult times and supporting individuals to self-manage their own health.

‘We want to build on this normalisation of technology and create a roadmap for improving social care through more innovative and informed commissioning of digital solutions.

‘We hope that this Commission also gives the technology industry impetus to invest their resources in developing solutions that are unwaveringly focused on improving outcomes for individuals.’

Rafael Bengoa, Chair of the commission and Co-Director of The Institute for Health and Strategy in Bilbao said: ‘In many countries, Covid-19 has exposed a disconnected and inefficient social care system.

‘This, combined with a rapidly growing older population, calls for a significant change in the way social care services are planned and commissioned.

‘Digital health and social care have filled the gaps during the pandemic and the Commission seeks to pull together this knowledge to make it easier and quicker to adopt, spread and scale innovations with the aim of creating a more preventative UK social care system.’

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