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5. Information, Prevention, Technology

As an authority we recognise the importance of investing in services that prevent individuals from needing social care support in the future. Individuals eligible for funding are those identified as having eligible care needs under the Care Act Eligibility Regulations 2014.

Due to funding criteria and the continued growth in personal wealth, we expect to see an increase in the self-funder market for non-residential services and an increased uptake in low level support services purchased directly by customers.

One of our priorities has to be to ensure that the whole population is better informed and equipped to take control of their own lives and to put in place the arrangements that they need to live the life they chose. We need to ensure that people have access to good, accurate and up to date information so local authority resources can be targeted at those who will benefit most from an intervention.

Our work has continued in 2015 – 2016 with a voluntary sector partner to divert individuals to community solutions, rather than being offered traditional social care solutions which, if utilised too early, can create a culture of dependency.  From April 2016, a new Community Connector service will be established across South Gloucestershire, working within the emerging cluster model in primary care. This will create an exciting opportunity to link adults to resources and support in their local community, thus reducing their longer term health and social care needs.  The link with adult care will continue to divert people appropriately to community based innovative support.  Another aspect of the project will be the development of networks and assets within communities, to support people to use and develop their own skills and assets and link with others.

A continuing priority has been to review our existing customer information arrangements and to seek opportunities to improve the accuracy and availability of information for the general public.  This has been taking place in a number of areas, both internally and public facing. We will evaluate the impact of the information hub, face to face, online and printed information prepared by the Council and partners. We recognise that increasingly technological developments offer new accessible ways to inform and communicate with citizens. We have heard that often it is not a lack of information that is the problem but the timeliness of how it is delivered.  The Council is continuing to improve and capitalise on its digital capability, embedding digital tools throughout our work and using digital techniques to gather evidence and insight to support the cultural change in health and social care. This includes a new website and work continues to provide extended information for the public on adults and 0 – 25 services.

Internally the Council has started work to recommission adults and children’s social care management information services over the next three years. Both systems are currently hosted internally and supported by ICT.