Delivering CareTech at Scale across the social care sector 

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge
14th September 2023

On 12th September Professor Lee-Ann Fenge chaired a workshop hosted by the Department of Health and Social Care, on behalf of Policy Connect, into the best ways of delivering CareTech at scale across social care. This built on work by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology earlier in the year which engaged local authorities, tech providers, care organisations and government officials on local Assistive Technology service commissioning.  

CareTech and digital technology is being promoted by government to manage, deliver and receive care through a variety of products such as hardware, software and apps. The Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund has been established to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of care technology in adult social care. It supports the implementation of technology which can be shown to contribute to one or more of the following 3 priorities: 

  • Increase care quality and safety (including safe discharge from hospital) 
  • Reduce avoidable admission/readmissions to hospital 
  • Increase support for people to live independently in their own home. 

During 2023/24, the Department for Health and Social Care will provide funding through the Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund to:    

1.       Ensure 80% of CQC-registered providers, and over 80% of people in receipt of care, have a digital social care record by March 2024 with the aim of supporting higher quality, safer and more personalised care as a result.       

2.      The Digitising Social Care Team are also offering funding to the sector to implement and evaluate digital care technology which will add to the evidence base of what works in adult social care.    

Local authorities, care providers, tech providers and evaluation partners (including HEIs) can apply for funding to implement and evaluate digital technology under this scheme. Wave one funding has already been allocated, wave 2 applications close on 20th September 2023, and wave three will open in 2024. 

The workshop chaired by Professor Fenge examined how policymakers can build an evidence-based approach to driving the adoption of CareTech at scale. A range of factors that can enable or undermine the delivery of CareTech services were considered, including workforce development needs in relation to understanding and promoting tech, inequalities in access to broadband/internet connection, and support for specific groups such as those with dementia, those lacking mental capacity and those with sensory impairments. Current practice was shared by local authority service provider and commissioning teams, tech providers, government, Care providers and SCIE about creating sustainable schemes that are inclusive to all those requiring care support.  

Moving forward, Policy Connect will use the insights from this workshop, alongside findings from a wider survey, to develop recommendations on how policymakers, tech companies and care organisations can generate, share and apply evidence about the efficacy of technology products and services to help people live healthy, independent and fulfilling lives. 

Meet the author(s)

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge

Director of the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices
Lee-Ann is Professor of Social Care in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences. She is a Registered Social Worker and has always been committed to advancing the professional evidence base of social care practitioners.
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