Barnet Council launches social care digital 'marketplace'

Co-produced booking and payment system is aimed at simplifying direct payments for users

Wheelchair-lit

An online booking and payment system for local adult social care services has gone live at Barnet Council.

ChooseCare was co-produced by the council and Capita, which spent a year researching the care market and carrying out a pilot project prior to the launch.

It is aimed at simplifying the direct payments system and improving efficiency for the London borough.

The platform will enable 1,000 residents in receipt of direct payments to search and book for services that have registered on the platform. Direct payment is money from local authority social services for people to manage their own care and support services.

ChooseCare will let users pay providers directly online for a range of services from direct payment budgets, for respite care, personal assistants or equipment to increase independent living, among others. 

It is hoped that the platform will make it easier to find and arrange services for residents eligible for adult social care, in particular those with little experience who may be navigating the system for the first time.

Reducing administration

The council aims to reduce back office administration, finance and management costs with the platform, by removing the need for funds to be transferred to users’ bank accounts or for the council to issue pre-paid cards. It also hopes to obtain deeper insights into the local demand for services.

Dawn Wakeling, adults and health commissioning director of Barnet Council, said: “Not only will ChooseCare help care users connect with providers; it will give us a much stronger understanding of how direct payment users are spending their money on care.”

The platform is free for the council and residents to use and is paid for on a transaction basis by service providers.

 

Image: by Tom Magillary Flickr