Staffordshire appoints firm to build social care website

Staffordshire County Council has appointed provider CloudBuy to create an online directory of care services, which will incorporate a needs assessment tool.

The firm will create a new website to allow local people to browse information and advice, search for products and services and spend their personal social care budget.

The two parties are next week due to sign a two-year contract with the option of extending in three yearly increments, but refused to reveal the cost for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Mark Sutton, cabinet support member for public health at the council, said:  “We want to ensure people are better placed to plan ahead.  By focussing on prevention and understanding the care and support options available, we can help people tackle problems early on before they reach that crisis stage.  The Staffordshire Marketplace will give people the tools to do just that.”

The tender process used the Crown Commercial Services framework Sprint ii. The council held a series of soft market testing events and detailed evaluation before selecting Cloudbuy.

Cloudbuy chief executive Lyn Duncan told that the new website would allow both social workers, members of the public or their family to complete an assessment of individual social care needs.

It will also create a system where service providers send invoices to those receiving care directly, rather than directly to the NHS.

She said: “Recipients are likely to be more picky and know exactly how much care they have received so this is likely to save money.”

In addition, the process would remove a swathe of paperwork from the system, as well as helping free up social workers to concentrate on clients with the most acute needs, she said.

Initially, the website will host council suppliers from existing framework arrangements, but new firms will be added once they go through a quality assurance process.

Duncan said the firm has already won similar contracts with councils in Northampton and Hertfordshire, and is in discussions with a number of other local authorities.

Colin Marrs

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