Update: The Adult Social Care Technology Fund

woman using iPad

Shantelle Million-Lawson leads the digital transformation workstream within the digitising social care team. Her role involves oversight of the delivery of our new website, assurance of our digital social care record solutions and the rollout of our adult social care technology fund. Prior to joining DHSC she worked in clinical transformation for a residential care provider group, following years spent as a care assistant. In this blog she gives an update on our care technology funding offer following its launch earlier this year.

Having previously worked in the social care sector myself I know that the rapid growth in innovative and exciting technology now available to support care can make it difficult for providers to know where to prioritise stretched budgets.

It was with this in mind that we launched our adult social care technology fund. We wanted this funding offer approach to help us identify care tech solutions that could have potential for wider rollout within the sector, and in doing so support the sector with robust evidence to prioritise investments in care technology.

What are the funding criteria?

We launched the fund in April this year and invited Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), care providers, local authorities, evaluation partners and technology suppliers to submit expressions of interest (EOIs) to apply for funding to support the procurement and implementation of technology solutions that focused on at least one of our three priority areas;

  • To increase care quality and safety
  • To reduce avoidable admissions or readmissions to hospital
  • To increase the support for people to live independently in their own home

We also made it a condition that 20% of the funding awarded had to be spent on evaluating the impact of the proposed project across different stakeholders.

And lastly, we wanted to understand if a proposal could have wider benefits within the sector.

We’re evaluating the EOI submissions in waves over the year. The deadline for the first wave of funding applications was on 21 May with 112 applications submitted.

How are we evaluating applications?

We assembled a multi-disciplinary panel to carefully evaluate each submission. The panel included people with a background in adult social care as well as transformation, finance, evaluation, benefits realisation, project delivery and implementation professionals.

They looked for applications which demonstrated the following attributes:

  • Clearly showed how they were supporting at least one of the fund priorities
  • Articulated a clear plan to generate robust evidence,
  • Contextualised diversity and inclusion challenges within the local environment and showed how potential risks could be mitigated,
  • Had either secured, or displayed clear plans to secure, a credible project evaluation partner together with plans to engage with local delivery partners
  • Sought funding for technologies that were within the scope of the fund
  • Were focused on implementing defined care technology solutions rather than for research or product development.
  • Displayed an ability to successfully deliver the project, describing the impact it would have together with a realistic funding request and associated timelines for the proposed project.

All bids for funding were evaluated equally, regardless of how was being requested (within the maximum limit of £600k per bid, over a financial year), or whether the bid focused on plans to implement a range of technologies over multiple care providers, or a single technology in one provider.

This approach allowed us to identify 15 funding applications which have now progressed to the next stage of our evaluation process.

This stage involves delving into more details around proposed implementation plans. We’re also helping the applicants complete an evaluation plan and economic modelling tool.

We’re also supporting these stage two applicants in considering ways to work collaboratively where appropriate.

From this stage we’re aiming to identify the first four applications to receive funding. We’ll be sharing the details of these successful projects in the autumn and will publish regular updates on their progress.

Do you have a project in mind that fits the bill?

I hope that  this update on the adult social care technology fund and how we evaluate submissions has helped spark your interest in applying.

The deadline for the evaluation of the next wave of EOIs is 20 September 2023. If you are looking to implement a care technology approach which you feel may meet our criteria and be relevant for other providers in the sector, please contact our Adult Social Care Technology team and we’ll be happy to answer any questions and guide you through the process.