Purpose of the item: To update the Adults and Health Select Committee on the Enabling You with Technology (Technology Enabled Care) Transformation Programme.
· Toni Carney – Head of Resources (Adult Social Care)
· Nick Markwick – Co-Chair, Surrey Coalition of Disabled People
· Sinead Mooney – Cabinet Member for Adults and Health
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) introduced the report and explained that Surrey County Council did not have a history of routinely using technology to support people and that the current providers were largely the district and borough councils. They went on to explain that the aim of the Enabling You With Technology Transformation Programme was not to use one type of technology but to offer a whole range to help support people with varying needs.
2. Members heard that the Enabling You With Technology Transformation Programme started with Design Phase 1, which involved a pilot with Mole Valley District Council. Outlining the programme’s next steps, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) informed the Select Committee that Phase 2, which started in September 2021, would involve testing the technology and monitoring platform on a larger scale to better understand the impact that would have on not just the people being supported but also workforce. Phase 3, they went on to explain, was scheduled to take place in early 2022 and would involve developing and trialling a mobile wellbeing response service and self-funder model. Phase 3 would also involve working directly with the Council’s Learning Disabilities and Autism and Mental Health services to pilot further technology-enabled care solutions.
3. The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added that the aim of the programme was to increase choice and the quality of care available to residents, which was one of their main strategic priorities. They went on to congratulate officers for their positive approach and spoke highly of the engagement that the Council had been having with Frimley and Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Systems.
4. Responding to a question regarding work that was to be undertaken with the Learning Disabilities and Autism Service and how deeply embedded technology-enabled care solutions were likely to be, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that the purpose of the pilot was to explore what could be done in supported living spaces, as these presented unique challenges. The aim of Phase 3 would be to learn what worked best for individuals in those settings. The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added that they would be looking to tailor the technology-enabled care package around those needs, and it was suggested that a site visit should be organised for the Select Committee so Members could see what technology-enabled care solutions looked like in action.
5. The Co-Chair of the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People asked how officers were planning to move forward the overseeing of data and dashboards by home care providers, what was being done to explain to people the way in which the technology worked and how data was being used, and what was being done to get buy in from other district and borough councils in Surrey. In response, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) expressed their excitement at the opportunities available for providers and the ways in which the technology could be used to better target when someone needed a visit. Further to this, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) said that they could see the technology enabling providers to provide care on demand. With regards to concerns around the technology and privacy, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that two videos had been produced to explain to people that the technology would only monitor movement and temperature, and that technology could not be installed for anyone who had not given their consent. It was important to make sure that people were aware the technology would not be spying on them.
6. A Member asked what had been learnt from the Mole Valley District Council pilot and what engagement had taken place, particularly with those from hard to reach communities. In response, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that the technology had been provided free as part of the pilot to ensure people were not put off by financial costs, and that they learnt that the technology needed to be in place for at least a number of weeks to produce the kind of data that is helpful. Regarding engagement, they went on to say that everyone who used the technology as part of the Phase 1 pilot was given a short questionnaire to complete so officers could better understand their experiences of using the technology. The Select Committee was given assurance that there would be no shortage of engagement going forward.
7. Responding to a question regarding support being given to those with physical difficulties and the potential for using the technology to identify people at risk of falls, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that the aim was for the technology offer to be bespoke, person-centred and accessible for all so users received technology-enabled care that was right for them. Regarding people at risk of falls, they went on to inform the Select Committee that a pilot was underway with Mole Valley District Council that involved the use of a wristwatch that helped to monitor people’s gait, and that this would be used to support people at risk of falls. The pilot was currently in its early stages and had three people using it, but officers were keen to undertake further engagement around the falls agenda and how technology-enabled care might be able to help. The Select Committee also heard from the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health that discussions were being had with the South East Coast Ambulance Service around how technology-enabled care could help reduce blue light callouts and tie in with wider falls prevention work that was taking place.
8. A Member questioned how carers were to be involved going forward and was told by the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) that they had undertaken positive engagement with carers so far and that this engagement would continue during the rollout of Phases 2 and 3. Technology-enabled care provided exciting opportunities for supporting carers and would, for instance, help to put the carer in control by allowing them to take the technology with them outside of the home in the form of an app.
9. Regarding a question from a Member on what had been learnt from good practice elsewhere and how this would incorporated into Phases 2 and 3, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that a consultant had been brought in from the Technology-Enabled Care Services Association and that they had helped bring a wider knowledge of what other local authorities were doing and how this could shape the technology-enabled care support on offer in Surrey. They went on to say that the Council was cutting edge in its use of technology-enabled care. Further to this, the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added that they had met with Kent County Council to discuss their use of technology to help support those with learning disabilities and autism. It was felt at that particular time that the support being offered was not right for Surrey County Council, but the conversations had with Kent County Council had nonetheless helped Surrey County Council to better understand what technology-enabled care could work well. Engagement would continue to be had with local authorities throughout Phases 2 and 3.
10. Responding to a question about whether other district and borough councils had been approached, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that the work would have to be done incrementally but that they had sensed genuine enthusiasm for the programme. They went on to say that conversations were being had with Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and they were hoping for them to come on board.
11. A Member asked whether it was possible for the data to be used to identify trends that could be built into, and help shape, Adult Social Care support more generally. In response, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that this was not being done at the current time but there was the potential for this to be done with people’s consent.
12. In response to a Member’s question about whether there was the potential for the mobile response service to be run for more than 16 hours a day if findings from the Phase 3 trial indicated that this would be beneficial, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) said that the current plan was for this service to be offered 16 hours a day because of the frequency of falls alerts being received by Mole Valley District Council during those hours. However, if the evidence was that the service needed to be offered 24 hours a day, there would be additional costs involved and further work would need to be done to determine whether these could be met.
13. Regarding the criteria for self-funders and a potential cost model, the Head of Resources (Adult Social Care) explained that there would not be a criteria as such as it would instead be an offer that people could buy into, and there were likely to be different options available. In terms of the cost model, the Select Committee was informed that this would depend on whether a universal offer could be agreed with the district and borough councils when a county-wide service was in operation, as they all currently had their own arrangements for telecare and community alarm systems on offer. This was a conversation that would be had with each of the district and borough councils. The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added that the self-funder market in Surrey was a large one and that it was important that their needs were met. They went on to say that they would like self-funders to be offered a universal offer with tiered charging so residents could purchase the level of support that was right for their needs.
The Select Committee requests that a report on the outcome of Phases 2 and 3 and relevant pilot studies is presented to the Select Committee at the appropriate time following their conclusion, and that this report covers:
· How technology-enabled care will be used to help those residents requiring learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism and mental health support
· Engagement undertaken with the district and borough councils and progress made in rolling out technology-enabled care across Surrey
Actions/requests for further information:
The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health and Scrutiny Officer are to explore the possibility of organising a site visit for Select Committee members to see what technology-enabled care looks like in action.