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How could tech transform social care? NHS Digital partners with 12 councils to find out

NHS Digital has joined forces with the Local Government Association to award £240,000 to a dozen councils seeking to explore how technology could transform the future of social care.

The initial funding will be split evenly across each of the local authorities selected to participate in the first phase of the scheme. After three months, six winners will be awarded up to a further £80,000 each to design and implement their solutions.

Named the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme, the initiative has been commissioned by NHS Digital but managed by the LGA, and is aimed specifically at helping those who depend on access to social care.

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, for example, plans to explore how biometrics could be used to assist people with learning disabilities and autism, while the London Borough of Havering is looking to investigate how ‘skills passports’ could help care workers streamline employment checks.

“The successful projects span a wide range of areas, from assistive technologies to predictive analytics,” said NHS Digital’s programme lead James Palmer. “[The local authorities] will be sharing their experiences from the pilot projects, adding to our collective knowledge of how digital can effectively be used to support the delivery of adult social care.”

The discovery stage of the project, explained LGA’s Kate Allsop, sees councils working with users to explore their potential solutions over the course of three months. “Projects will be designed around the needs of service users and complement the work of health and social care professionals,” she added. “We will ensure that learning is shared across the sector.”

The successful councils are:

  • Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Bracknell Forest Council
  • South Tyneside Council
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • London Borough of Havering
  • London Borough of Haringey
  • Shropshire Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Isle of Wight Council
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sunderland City Council

Councils have until 28 September to apply for the second stage of funding.