My Choice Marketplace - Trafford Council
My Choice Marketplace is an accessible website that was developed by Trafford Council; it informs personal budget holders and self-funders of the services available and ensures a minimum level of quality. It has also helped the council to develop the personal budget marketplace and to identify gaps in local services.
It was developed by Trafford Council in partnership with BlueSCI, a local provider, and was launched in September 2012. It is formed of a consortium of local service providers, who aim to provide a bespoke service for individuals who are looking for care or support in an environment where more people are moving to personal budgets and away from commissioned services.
Who is the service for?
The service is for Trafford residents who access a personal budget, and for people who fund their own care.
The aim of the project is to have a single online location where people can purchase services, and to ensure that a minimum level of quality is met by all providers who are members of the site. This will help ensure that individuals purchasing a service have some reassurance of both quality and safety.
Why is the service being developed?
My Choice Marketplace was developed to support personalisation and to help personal budget holders find out about local services. It was also designed to address the potential risk of unregulated markets, which left personal budget holders vulnerable, with no assurances of either quality or value for money.
Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
People who use services and carers helped inform initial ideas for this consortium approach through the council's citizen's reference board. BlueSCI then built on this with a project group that included key stakeholders who were consulted throughout the development of the website.
A wide range of other stakeholders were consulted on the structure and design of the website, and the ongoing running of the steering group. Professionals and providers had the opportunity through a range of existing forums and networks to give their views on the overall concept and risks and benefits for personal budget holders, carers and families.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
The website has been developed and is providing a single point of access for people to see what services are available in Trafford. It has a 'trip advisor'-style feedback option that helps people decide how to spend their budget and helps providers to improve their services when negative feedback is given. From a safeguarding and quality perspective, BlueSCI monitor the feedback and report any concerns to the council, who can then intervene with the provider.
All 52 member organisations (providers) have signed up to a set of values and principles that give assurance to personal budget holders. In addition, all providers have agreed to allow spot checks by Trafford Quality Checkers, a group of trained volunteer citizens who visit or phone to make sure the values and principles are being put into practice.
Feedback has been very positive from people who use the website, with individuals reporting that the website is easy to use and makes choosing a service much easier. Among providers, some have commented that the development of the marketplace has outpaced personal budget use, and that some services are not accessed by personal budget holders because the resource allocation system prevents some choices.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
The website was introduced with the aim of improving the quality of what is offered to people looking for care and support, rather than reducing cost. While no data is yet available, the council expects that better value for money will become an outcome.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
- Engage all stakeholders early in the process
- Co-produce the service to ensure that it develops in a way that personal budget holders, carers, families and professionals will all benefit from
- Learn from existing websites about what can be achieved
- Set the outcomes high and try not to compromise on these.
Deputy Corporate Director CFW, Director of Service Development, Adult and Community Services, Children, Families and Wellbeing
Telephone: 0161 912 1266