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ADASS East: Providing a clear picture of care

Writing in the MJ, Iain MacBeath, DASS, Hertfordshire explains the benefits PAMMS has delivered across 11 Councils in ADASS Eastern Region.

Writing in the MJ, Iain MacBeath, DASS, Hertfordshire explains the benefits PAMMS has delivered across 11 Councils in ADASS Eastern Region:  

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MJ Article: Providing a clear picture of care

During the years of austerity, local authorities have had to balance reducing budgets against increasing demand – while maintaining a high level of quality in social care services. 

Hertfordshire’s story is not untypical of other areas with councils seeing the financial pressures of a system that was never generously funded and has continued to leave the care sector under huge strain.

In the East of England, directors of adult social services wanted to find a common regional approach that delivered efficiencies and consistency when engaging with our care providers, many of which we have in common, maximising intelligence and providing a real time market oversight. The Care Act strengthened these market management duties in 2015.

A unique collaboration between the eleven councils making up the ADASS Eastern region was therefore created. Having established a comprehensive common set of regional care contracts, guidance, standards and monitoring toolkit, we looked for a technological answer that would replace manual monitoring systems and enable market intelligence, quality and financial data to be accessed in one place, in real-time.

A solution was born, and we named it PAMMS (Provider Assessment & Market Management Solution). Provided by HAS Technology, the system integrates easily with the eleven different council case management and finance systems while providing a consistent framework that maximises resources and reduces costs. 

This was an ambitious project and effective provider engagement was critical to ensure positive end user buy-in as well as peer-to-peer support for sharing good practice. It was essential to work with the technology provider, taking advantage of their wide market knowledge and linking this to the expertise of the LA working groups. This unique partnership approach has transformed our view of the local care market.
Our use of this technology has delivered capital savings of £550k with further estimated ongoing annual savings of over £550k. It has brought together care quality and financial data from 11 LAs, 2,000 contracted providers and 20,000 service users, as well as automatically bringing in data from the CQC, allowing comparison between ratings and our findings.

By streamlining and bringing data together, we can now see overall market sustainability and reduce risk, providing a clear picture of what is happening in the care market. Spend data and volumes can highlight over reliance on one supplier which obviously represents a risk – especially if it’s in a particular specialism which might be hard to replace in an emergency. 

We have adopted a ‘Do once not 11 times’ approach, successfully implementing a standard contract for care, together with a range of regionally agreed quality standards, an approach that has seen a 10% improvement in measurable provider quality.

Providers were also able to benefit with improved CQC ratings, peer benchmarking, a reduced need for multi-agency assessments and evidenced service improvements.

It’s a future proof system, with the ability to continually add additional modules as required. Working towards national collaboration with the assessment frameworks that have been developed, this approach can be used by other local authorities. 
As a council, and a region, we have used the power of technology and data to transform our care services in a way that can be embraced across the sector. With the current market pressures, we hope our mantra of ‘do once not 11 times’ may eventually allow councils with social care responsibility to ‘do once not 206 times’.  

Written by:

Iain MacBeath, DASS, Hertfordshire.