Staffordshire Cares - Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire Cares is a service developed by Staffordshire County Council. The website helps people to maintain their independence and plan their lives by putting all information, advice and guidance in one place, in a range of formats, to meet individual needs. Launched in June 2011, it offers people a set of tools to enable them to plan the support and care they need:
- A single access number to give advice and information, signpost people to a range of services and activities and process adult social care referrals
- An online application and board game called 'Me, myself and I', that helps individuals identify their needs and priorities and engage in the support planning process
- A 'Staffordshire Cares' website that provides detailed information, advice and guidance relevant to an individual's 'life prescription', enabling them to look at all the options available to them
- An online 'shop window' for local services and support networks called 'Purple pages', which has more than 4,000 services, activities and events registered
- Care match, matching the right person to the right job, and personal assistant register
- Face-to-face access points situated across the county council, including libraries and District & Borough Councils.
Who is the service for?
When it was launched, the service was for older people and their carers, family members and professionals. From July 2013, the service will be for all citizens of all ages in Staffordshire and the City of Stoke-on-Trent, and will include public health advice and support. There will also be a section specifically for people with sensory impairments and for people with learning disabilities.
The service is designed to achieve the following outcomes:
- Support for people to live independent and safe lives
- Longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives for people in Staffordshire
- Wider access to a range of learning, recreational and cultural activities
- Public involvement in shaping the delivery of public services
- Helping people become more educated and informed.
Why is the service being developed?
The service was developed in response to local feedback that the world of social care is difficult to understand and confusing to navigate. People told the council that they did not know what services were available, and when they found a contact number they rarely got through first time.
It was also a response to the national 'putting people first' agenda and an effort to promote early intervention agenda.
The whole concept is being developed further to ensure that citizens can have informed choices to enable them to be connected and obtain help for themselves to assist with their lifestyle and their care and support.
Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
People who use services and carers were involved from the outset in designing and shaping this project, using 27 different user groups from across the council. User groups continue to be consulted on the service, and the website is being redesigned in response to feedback from people who use it.
Other key stakeholders include voluntary and community organisations, who were key to the delivery of the 'purple pages' and are ambassadors for the philosophy underlying the service and for specific products.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
The council is able to demonstrate that the service has met the intended outcomes by comparing the way the service is used with baseline data taken before it went live. Performance of all products is measured on a three-monthly basis, looking at useage, trends and the number of people who are being signposted to further information and support. There are numerous case studies confirming that outcomes have been delivered and that people are happy with it.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
The main cost of producing 'Staffordshire Cares' is in staff time. Two years into the project, the team consists of project manager, project support officer, subject matter experts, single access number advisors, ICT support and communications and marketing support.
The whole approach has given a cost pressure reduction to the County Council as it is assisting in the prevention of people entering the care system.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
- Dedicate sufficient time and resources
- Secure the support of local politicians and the council's senior leadership
- Ensure that the council sees it as an integral part of its business
- Ensure that all stakeholders understand and support the initiative
- Employ ambassadors/champions to make it work
- Be flexible and adaptable to change the service as required
- Continually evaluate and seek feedback
- Think about an approach that works for all ages
- Consider whether online technology is always appropriate to the target audience
- Avoid reinventing the wheel: look for a service that works and build on existing knowledge and experience.
County Commissioner -Community Wellbeing Staffordshire County Council
Telephone: 01785 895186