Budgeting for Better Care: Culture Change for TEC

Alex Fulcher | 23 Apr, 2024 |

In the previous two articles of our Budgeting for Better Care action plan series, we explored the importance of identifying data needs and selecting the right technology enabled care (TEC) solution to control adult social care spending. However, the successful implementation of TEC goes beyond just procuring the right technology. To truly harness the potential of these solutions, local authorities must foster a culture of innovation that embraces change and encourages widespread adoption.

The Pressing Need for Change

Adult social care budgets are under immense strain, with spending increasing by a staggering 48% per person over the past decade, this means that the costs have grown from £252 to £372 per person annually.

Adult social care spending has increased by 48% per person over the last decade

This surge highlights the growing demand driven by an aging population, with the number of over 65s increasing by 20% in the same period. To provide a new perspective this means that 1 in 5 more seniors require support which is also a large change.

Dominating Local Authority Budgets

Simultaneously, children's services and adult social care now consume over two-thirds of a local authority's entire budget, leaving limited resources for other vital services.

“With more than two-thirds of the average county local authority’s budget now spent on just children’s services and adult social care, rising to three quarters in some areas, there is simply less and less each year for us to spend on highly valued services such as libraries, road repairs, and street lighting.” - Cllr Roger Gough, CCN Spokesperson for Children’s Services on the data from Pixel Financial Management

This reality underscores the urgency for local authorities to adopt innovative solutions that can improve efficiency, optimise resource allocation, and achieve better care outcomes within their budgetary constraints.

Childrens services and social care now consume over two thirds of a local authoritys entire budget

Funding for Adult Social Care

Recognising the mounting pressures, the government recently announced that they have allocated £8.6 billion to support adult social care and discharge, as well as £327 million earmarked for the Better Care Fund to provide unpaid carers with a variety of support services. While this additional funding is a positive step, it is not a long-term solution. Local authorities must embrace a culture of innovation to develop sustainable care models that can meet the evolving needs of their communities.

Building a Shared Vision

Implementing a new technology solution is not just a technical exercise; it's a transformative journey that requires a shared vision and commitment from all stakeholders involved. To build this shared vision, local authorities must:

  • Communicate the benefits of TEC: Clearly articulate how the technology care solutions can improve care outcomes, increase efficiency, and optimise resource allocation. This understanding will help stakeholders appreciate the value of the investment and contribute to its success.
  • Involve stakeholders early on: Engage care professionals, service users, and their families from the outset. Coproduce solutions with the people who will be using them: seek their input, address their concerns, and ensure that the tech-enabled solution aligns with their needs and preferences.
  • Provide comprehensive training: Equip care teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively utilise the solution to deliver the care services. Thorough training not only builds confidence but also fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the new technology.

Empowering Care Teams

The success of TEC solutions hinges on the ability of care teams to leverage the technology effectively. Local authorities should focus on empowering these teams by:

  • Encouraging a datadriven mindset: Promote the use of data and analytics to inform care decisions. Equip teams with the tools and support to interpret and act on the insights provided by the telecare solution provider.
  • Fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing: Create platforms for care teams to share best practices, discuss challenges, and collaborate on solutions. This collective learning will accelerate the adoption and optimisation of the solution.
  • Celebrating early wins: Recognise and celebrate successes, no matter how small. As well as acknowledging what can be learnt from mistakes or failures. This positive reinforcement will build momentum and inspire continued engagement with the TEC solution.

Culture Change

Implementing new technology often faces resistance from those who are comfortable with established practices. To overcome this barrier and foster a culture of continuous improvement and a move towards a preventative and outcome focused approach to care there is not a one-size-fits all way to do it. To encourage action, there are some elements local authority care service teams should consider:

Address Concerns and Highlight Benefits

  • Address concerns proactively: Anticipate and address potential concerns or fears of the telecare solution that are common. Provide clear and transparent communication, addressing questions and addressing misconceptions headon.
  • Highlight tangible benefits: Share realworld examples and success stories that demonstrate the positive impact of TEC solutions on care outcomes, efficiency, and cost savings.
  • Enlist champions: Identify influential individuals within the organisation who can serve as champions for the solution. Their endorsement and advocacy can help sway sceptics and build broader support.

Embracing Agility and Seeking Feedback

  • Foster a learning culture: Encourage teams to continuously evaluate the TEC solution's performance, identify areas for improvement, and propose enhancements or new features.
  • Embrace agility: Remain flexible and open to adapting the TEC solution to meet changing requirements or integrate new technologies as they become available.
  • Seek feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from care teams, service users, and their families. This input will help refine the tech solution and ensure it continues to meet evolving needs effectively.

By following these steps, local authorities can create an environment that embraces innovation, empowers care teams, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. This supportive and adaptive culture is essential for maximizing the potential of technology enabled care solutions and achieving long-term success in controlling adult social care spending while delivering high-quality care services.

You can read the previous two parts of the Budgeting for Better Care action plan here: step one Identifying TEC Data Needs and step two Choosing a Tech Enabled Solution.

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