Nottinghamshire County Council approached a number of software companies with a tender to help them develop and implement a system. “We chose Integrated Business Software and Solutions because they demonstrated their capabilities and experience in developing similar systems. They were highly professional throughout and showed that their knowledge and understanding would be very important to the overall success of the project,” says Paul McKay, Service Director for Nottinghamshire County Council.
The online system was developed by IBSS and went live in February 2012. It consists of three portals, one for the public, one for care homes and one for the local authority. The system includes a dashboard, which can be fully customised, showing key information in a clear, graphical format, allowing users to make faster, more informed and accurate decisions.
The public facing portal has information on local services, and advice for older people and their families. It provides a single source of knowledge for anyone wishing to know more about any aspect of care in their local area.
This functionality also includes links to a consumer site called www.payingforcare.co.uk. This site provides a valuable link to enable citizens not only to source information about paying for care, but also to engage and receive expert advice specific to their care fees needs.
Simplifying pathways to care funding advice for self-funders of elderly care has never been as big an issue as it is today. It is vital that citizens can access and receive the right type of care fees advice. This not only enables citizens to make better informed choices, but also mitigates the risk of such citizens falling back on to Council budgets.
The care home portal is also fully web-based, so there is no need for any software installation at the care home. It provides an easy access point for care homes to provide the information required by Nottinghamshire County Council. It also has the facility to receive, send and track notices to and from interested parties who have logged web enquires, creating the potential to set up a marketing database. Payments to the care homes are paid automatically through the system as soon as the care home enters the required information. This saves everyone time and money, while ensuring all the necessary information is fed into the system.
Paul McKay concludes, “If as a result of this solution we get just one person to take the appropriate financial advice and avoid being funded by the local authority, the system will have paid for itself. This is a hugely impressive return on investment and I expect many other councils around the country to look at what we have done and make the decision to investigate the opportunity in more detail.”