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Navigating the Path to Digital Transformation Funding for Your Social Care Business

Dec 13, 2023 | Blog Post, domiciliary care, For home care professionals

The winds of digital transformation are sweeping through various sectors, bringing innovation and efficiency to the forefront. The realm of social care is no exception to this transformative wave.

The government is actively investing in digital social care initiatives, offering financial support to social care providers eager to adopt digital systems and elevate the quality of their services. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the process of applying for digital transformation funding from government sources. Additionally, we will provide invaluable insights into choosing the optimal digital care management solution tailored to your unique business needs.

Transformation Funding:

The UK government has made a substantial commitment of £25 million to bolster the digital transformation of social care services. A portion of this funding has been allocated to the Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund. This fund is specifically designed to empower social care providers by enabling the adoption of digital systems that enhance the quality and efficiency of their services. Notably, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has set a target of having 80% of social care agencies employing digital care records by 2024. This underscores the critical need for providers to embrace digital solutions, not only for compliance but also for achieving improved CQC ratings.

Eligibility for Funding:

Securing digital transformation funding requires meeting specific eligibility criteria, including:

1. Operating a CQC-registered Adult Social Care service.
2. Demonstrating compliance with data security and governance standards, preferably by implementing a Data Security and Protection Toolkit.
3. Selecting a software solution from the Assured Supplier List (ASL).

In addition to these primary criteria, some providers may need to showcase digital maturity through staff training initiatives and possess an active NHSmail or government email account. Fulfilling these requirements is essential to secure the funding necessary for your digital transformation journey.

Funding Availability and Limitations:

The distribution of digital transformation funding is managed by Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) or Local Authorities, and the terms may vary. While some authorities may cover a portion of software costs for the initial year, others might offer full funding for the first year. It is important to note that funding may not extend to cover additional features such as eMAR and rostering. Moreover, providers may be responsible for infrastructure upgrade costs, such as improving WiFi connectivity.

Applying for Funding – Step by Step:

Initiating the funding application process can be a complex task, but by following these steps, you can navigate it successfully:

1. Contact your local Digitising Social Care (DiSC) program lead. You can find relevant contact information on the Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund website.

2. Request comprehensive details regarding available funding in your region, as well as application deadlines and timelines.

3. Progress through the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) application process, typically comprising three phases: Research, Purchasing, and Implementation.

The DPS Funding Application Process – A Practical Example:

Consider this illustrative example of the DPS funding application process:

Research Phase:

*Submit an Expression of Interest form to your local DiSC.
*Verify your eligibility for funding.
*Assess your requirements for a digital care management provider.
*Explore approved care management software suppliers listed on the DPS.
*Solicit demonstrations and quotes from potential suppliers.
*Make an informed choice by selecting the supplier that aligns best with your specific needs, and secure a 12-month quote.

Purchasing Phase:

*Complete a grant fund application, providing essential details including bank information and the chosen supplier’s quote.
*After your grant application is received, finalize a Memorandum of Understanding.
*Proceed to place an order for your selected digital system.

Implementation Phase:

*Strategically plan and execute the implementation of the chosen software solution with your selected supplier.
*Submit the supplier invoice to initiate the transfer of funds from your ICS.

Finding an Eligible Digital Software Provider:

The UK government has established a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for social care, featuring a database of approved software suppliers rigorously vetted by the Department of Health and Social Care. This DPS serves as a valuable resource to identify a digital care management provider perfectly suited to the specific needs of your social care agency. Ensure that the chosen provider offers the requisite digital functionality and ongoing support for the sustained growth of your business.

The government’s investment in digital social care presents an exciting opportunity for social care providers to elevate their services through digital transformation. By thoroughly understanding the funding criteria, diligently following the application process, and carefully selecting the ideal digital care management solution, you can embark on a transformative journey to enhance the efficiency and quality of your social care business. Embrace the digital future, harness government funding, and propel your social care agency toward a brighter and more efficient tomorrow.