DHSC shortly to begin work on system due to launch in 2024
The government is planning to build and implement a new central national platform to enable local authorities and other social-care providers to access data.
The Department of Health and Social Care has revealed it plans to “develop a new digital product to enable the sector to have access to relevant data and analysis and enables them to make better decisions”.
The DHSC is seeking to appoint a specialist supplier to assist with the delivery of an initial alpha stage of the project, in which research will be conducted to help inform upcoming design and delivery phases. The ultimate goal is to launch the platform for use by councils and the wider social-care sector sometime in 2024.
The digital tool will incorporate “the lessons learned from the Covid-19 dashboard that shared adult social care data with national government and local authorities”, according to a newly published contract notice. It was recently revealed that the Covid dashboard – which collated information on a range of metrics and made it publicly-available on GOV.UK – is set to be used as the basis for a permanent “multi-threat dashboard” ‘to provide the public with data on future health emergencies.
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The social-care data platform, meanwhile, will bring together on one place information from “multiple organisations that collect and publish data from across the sector”, including NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and local councils. This can “make it difficult to pool and draw relevant insights at national, regional and local levels for national government, local authorities, care providers and others”, the contract notice added.
There are also disparities in the data and analytics capabilities of the organisations that will use the finished product; this will include local government officials, representatives of other social-care providers, civil servants in DHSC and other departments, and researchers.
The notice said: “A local authority will want to use data and insights to support commissioning of services. Care providers will want to use data and insights to support care provision. National government will want to use data and insights to support policy and operational decision-making. The data maturity of the different users within each organisation will vary – some will be analytically focused, others will have limited data backgrounds.”
In building a national digital system, government hopes to put “social care data on a longer-term footing, improving the quality and timeliness”.
“Alongside improvements in data quality, access to and use of… new data is critical to delivering our ambition on data and social care reform,” the notice added. “Building on the lessons learned from the Covid-19 dashboard that shared adult social care data with national government and local authorities, DHSC will develop a new digital product to enable the sector to have access to relevant data and analysis and enables them to make better decisions.”
Suppliers interested in supporting the alpha phase have until midnight on 10 March to bid for a contract expected to last 10 weeks and be worth up to £100,000 to the winning bidder.