An online interactive Directory of Services will enable individuals to source their own care who are either self funders or have a Direct Payment or who need low level preventative services e.g. those that reduce social isolation. The online Directory will need to be interactive which can provide individuals with an easy to use search facility. The Directory could become an e-marketplace whereby individuals are able to directly purchase their services online or book sessions at day centres, for example. Although the Council has been developing a business case for a Directory of Services a digital solution needs to be identified that can be tested. Either the digital solution needs to be tailor made or could be bought from suppliers on the market and then configured into an appropriate solution.
We have an opportunity to collaborate with local authorities with which we share services through LGSS, which is a jointly owned shared service formed by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and Northamptonshire County Council (NCC). Milton Keynes Council joined as a third partner in 2016. Alternatively we may want to share a common solution across Northamptonshire based on current proposal to create two unitary authorities to cover the existing county
Under the Care Act 2014 local authorities are responsible for providing advice and information on care services in their area. Although the Council produces a PDF Directory of Services it is out of date as soon as it has been produced. The Council has identified a business need for an on-line interactive Directory of Services, which can easily be updated.
The Council has found that a number of authorities have produced online interactive directories. There is potential to extend this concept across more than one authority. Some of the key considerations identified for an online Directory of Services are as follows:
- How should it be configured e.g. should be branded as part of the Council/s or an independent site. How should the information be structured to make it easy to search
- Should the Directory be developed as partnership with voluntary organisations that provide information and advice
- How can information be transferred into the system that is up to date and accurate
- How can information on services be regularly updated
- How to engage with the public to use the system and how to promote the system
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to service design
- Introduction to delivery management
- Introduction to product management
- Introduction to digital business analysis