Carers to be electronically monitored in bid to save cash
Carers will be monitored electronically to make sure they provide the care they are supposed to.
Gloucestershire County Council bosses say the Electronic Call Monitoring (ECM)scheme is not about keeping tabs on people but it will lead to major savings and keep people “safe”.
The ECM system will initially only apply to care professionals who help people with learning disabilities.
Carers will check in to the system when they arrive at a client’s house and check out when they leave while alerts will be flagged when a carer doesn’t arrive within a particular timeframe.
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At the moment the county council commissions carers to provide a certain amount of care but it has no concrete way of knowing if the number of hours commissioned, and paid for, is actually being delivered.
Accurately tracking the movements of carers will change that, allowing the council to only pay them for the service they actually provide.
The scheme was piloted by a handful of providers in Gloucestershire last year, showing the council it can expect savings in the region of seven per cent.
The learning disability community based care budget is worth £21 million a year.
That should translate to savings of between £1.75 million and £2.25 million over the next three years.
Setting up the scheme will cost approximately £340,000.
Councillor Kathy Williams (C, Longlevens), cabinet member for long-term care, said at the moment the council has no way of “capturing” any under delivery and that the new system will ensure taxpayers receive value for money.
“This is about making sure that the provider is providing the services that the public purse is paying for,” she said.
“The council currently commissions community based care and support services for people with learning disabilities from 64 service providers.
“It pays for the number of hours of care it has commissioned, rather than the number of hours that are actually delivered.
“There is currently no way of recording where less support has been delivered to service users.
“Using ECM will mean the council only pays for the services delivered, as well as being safer for people with learning disabilities and care workers.”
She added: “We have a lot of contracted staff and this will give us an idea of where they are, from a safety perspective.”
Gloucestershire County Council said most organisations are supportive of the scheme which should start to be implemented in March.
ECM could be rolled out to other service areas, like older people and mental health, if the initial scheme is a success.
The county council’s cabinet agreed to forge ahead with the scheme yesterday morning.
Businesses will now be asked to bid for the ECM contract.