Social care is going digital - and Birdie is here to help make the process as simple and easy as possible.
The government has committed £25 million of investment to digital social care, and some of that has been allocated to the Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund to help social care providers introduce digital systems to their business.
The CQC aims to have 80% of social care agencies using digital care records by 2024, so getting set up now will help you reach compliance and drive up your CQC rating at your next inspection.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to find and apply for Digital Transformation funding from the government and how to choose an NHS-assured care management solution that meets your needs.
To learn more about Digital Transformation Funding, see our blog post: The Digitising Social Care fund: What you need to know.
Applying for Digital Transformation Funding
It can be challenging to figure out what funding you are entitled to and how to apply for it. Although central government has decided on funding criteria, Local Authorities have leeway to change or adapt their own criteria as they see fit.
Let’s take a closer look at the funding pathways available.
In line with the funding criteria set at a national level, to qualify, you must:
- Operate a CQC-registered Adult Social Care service
- Meet compliance for data security and governance, ideally having implemented a Data Security and Protection Toolkit - you can check your status with the NHS organisation search here
- Choose a software solution from the Assured Supplier List (ASL)
Other criteria might include:
- Show evidence of digital maturity by, for example, completing digital skills training within your organisation (find out more about digital skills and training)
- Have or be in the process of setting up or using an active NHSmail @nhs.net or @gov.uk account or an accredited email conforming to DCB 1596
Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) or Local Authorities can distribute funding as they see fit. For example, some offer 50% of the software costs for one year, while others cover the total cost for the first year.
There are also limitations to how you can spend the funding. You can use it to purchase the core care management software, but if you choose to invest in additional features, like eMAR and rostering, funding might not be available to cover this.
You will also be expected to cover the cost of any necessary infrastructure upgrades, like improving WiFi connectivity (although some local authorities and ICS/ICB are offering additional funding for IT infrastructure, so check this with your regional DiSC programme lead).
Applying for funding, step by step
- Contact your local Digitising Social Care (DiSC) programme lead. You can find your relevant contact at Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund - Digital Social Care
- Request details of the funding available in your region and the timescales for applying for and receiving funds
- Move through the dynamic purchasing system application process (we’ve outlined an example of a typical application below)
The DPS funding application process - example
A DPS funding application typically consists of 11 steps broken down into three phases.
- Complete an Expression of Interest form from your local DiSC
- Check your funding eligibility
- Review your requirements to determine what you need from your new digital care management provider
- Review the approved care management software suppliers on the dynamic purchasing system (DPS)
- Arrange demonstrations and gather quotes from the suppliers you’re considering
- Decide which supplier best meets your needs and get a full 12-month quote
- Complete a grant fund application form, including your bank details and the supplier quote with your application
- Once your grant application has been received, complete a Memorandum of Understanding
- Place an order for your chosen digital system
- Plan to implement the software solution with your chosen supplier
- Submit the supplier invoice to request the transfer of funds from your ICS
How do you find a digital software provider that can be eligible for funding?
The government has set up a social care dynamic purchasing system (DPS), a database of approved software suppliers vetted and approved by the government Department of Health and Social Care.
You can use the DPS to find a supplier who will provide the right digital functionality and ongoing support for your social care agency. Here at Birdie, we’re proud to be an NHS-approved software service provider featured on the DPS.
Birdie for social care businesses
Birdie’s software is a digital toolkit for homecare businesses. With everything on one platform, your business will spend less time on admin, and more time delivering outstanding care.
The Birdie toolkit is a desktop and mobile app, easy to learn and intuitive to use. Everything is instantly available at your team’s fingertips. You can manage multiple aspects of your business from one platform, including care management, rostering, finance, auditing and communications. But best of all - we’ve kept it simple and user-friendly, streamlining day-to-day work for your whole team so you can focus on what’s really important - delivering outstanding care to your clients.
Your business already delivers great care. With Birdie by your side, you’ll take it to the next level.
A typical home care business using a paper-based system spends £5.5k on every care recipient per year. Switching from pen and paper to Birdie’s care management software saves, on average, £1.8k per care recipient per year.
These savings are achieved by:
- Going paperless
- Optimising call schedules
- Retaining and managing staff
- Meeting quality and compliance requirements more easily
- Simplifying finance processes
Try our cost saving calculator to see how much Birdie could save you in your home care agency.
73% of Birdie users save between 7 and 15 hours every week on all day-to-day operations. Because Birdie keeps everything you need in one place, everyone has access to the information they need when they need it.
Managers and coordinators can access high-level information from the office while carers check care plans and client information from their phones.
You can log visits easily, record voice notes from the client’s home, and flag concerns immediately - all tasks which take up time and create hassle on the paper-based systems you’ve used in the past.
The ease and flexibility of Birdie save time for the whole team, so you can prioritise time with clients over time spent doing paperwork. Everyone benefits - more time means more efficiency, your carers are less stressed, and clients feel valued and well cared for when their carers can take their time.
Deliver outstanding care
Outstanding care centres around really knowing your clients; their likes, dislikes, preferences and personalities. We know that personal touches are just as important as the hands-on care and practical support you provide.
At Birdie, we’ve simplified the way you deliver person-centred care. Our software enables you to record client preferences, create personalised checklists for every call and match clients with care professionals automatically, based on preferences and availability, to achieve optimum continuity of care.
And all of this can be done away from the office.
- Care professionals can access and update care plans and records, fill in eMAR, and complete mental and physical health trackers during visits.
- Approved relatives can check on their loved ones using the app, helping you improve communication with families and provide evidence to the CQC that you value input from the care recipients’ loved ones.
- Where relevant, third parties, like pharmacies and community health teams, can access client records to boost collaboration between services and improve standards for care recipients.
Keep track of your performance
Birdie Analytics brings all your key metrics together in one place so you can perform audits quickly and efficiently to monitor how your home care business is performing.
Track care management, care delivery, scheduling and matching, HR, billing and payroll, and generate weekly performance reports at the click of a button.
The system automatically pulls together reports, so you can have your figures to hand and provide the necessary evidence for your next CQC inspection.
The government is helping social care providers go digital in their businesses by awarding grants from the Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund.
The process of finding and applying for funding can be unclear, but by following the steps laid out in this guide, you can get the ball rolling and start making the changes you need to uplevel your business.
Why not try Birdie? We’re pleased to be an approved software solution provider featured on the dynamic purchasing system, and we are here to support you through the application process and beyond.
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