On Monday 20 March the BBC reported on the rates of contract cancellations, bankruptcies and risks of insolvencies amongst care providers. This inability to provide effective care was also the subject of Monday night’s episode of BBC Panorama and is a growing concern across the UK.
I find these figures striking but not surprising. Local authorities have limited resources available to fund care, and care providers can find it difficult to make service delivery stack up within the funding available. This makes it more important than ever for local authorities to understand the details of their local care markets and for care providers to have maximum visibility of the things that will help them to remain viable. Data research has a part to play in enabling this.
The constraints facing care providers and funders are real. We would certainly not claim that data alone can resolve all of the deep-seated challenges in local care markets. However, it can help to identify pinch points and investigate whether services could be more viable if delivered differently.
Local authorities know that providers are under pressure. Data research can give them insights into the dynamics of their local markets to understand where the biggest risks are, both now and into the future.
For care providers, including both home care and care homes, using their data more effectively could help them to understand whether there are ways they could tweak their service to continue to provide the care that people need whilst remaining viable for the longer term.
The Business and Local Government Data Research Centre has government funding to use data research to support businesses and local government around care provision. It has ongoing projects with local authorities to understand the viability of the care systems in their areas, and has further capacity available to support more local authorities in this way. It is also currently undertaking research into the drivers of sustainability in the care home market and is keen to work with providers across the sector to see whether their data can help them to offer their service whilst remaining viable.
Blog post by Jim Vine (Researcher at the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre). Local authorities and care providers wishing to investigate the potential for using data research to support their areas should email Jim.
Published 22 March 2017