Investigating a digital support hub for carers


  1. Project outputs
  2. Project timeline

Estimates suggest that approximately 6% of the population are unpaid carers, equating to around 110,000 people across South East London. Unpaid carers describe the profession as “being plunged into a complex web of health and social care services with no prior knowledge or experience”. 

This project, led by London Borough of Southwark, aims to demystify the world of caring, making it easier for carers to get the information, advice and support they need to care for their loved ones and maintain their own health and wellbeing.

Southwark will explore:

  • the experiences of carers across the South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS) in accessing information, advice and support
  • the approaches taken to supporting carers across SEL
  • the platforms, digital tools, innovations that are available or emerging from the market

This discovery will consider how a virtual carers hub could bring together information and a range of functionality to provide a comprehensive digital offer for carers across an industrial control system (ICS) footprint.

Project outputs

Estimated project outputs (subject to change):

  • user-research report detailing experiences of carers across SEL, including user-journeys, pain points etc
  • map of existing services, touch points and failure demand
  • market research on online/ virtual carers solutions with recommendations for bringing together information/ functionality into a comprehensive online carers hub that works across an ICS footprint
  • business case outlining potential costs/benefits of delivering the recommended solution/s with potential funding models for ongoing maintenance/sustainability

Project timeline

March 2023

The project is awarded £99,300 in funding through Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund to begin a discovery phase.

April 2023

The project team recently attended Local Digital’s R6 welcome event to network with other boroughs and develop their project roadmap and communication plan. They are now drafting their Terms of Reference and confirming roles and responsibilities within the team.

May 2023

The project reference group recently met to review the Terms of Reference document, focusing on project governance and social and emotional learning (SEL) partner roles.

Some team members attended the Local Digital webinar on conducting a discovery project, which provided valuable insights. Hiren Gandhi (Project Manager) has met with Southwark Council’s procurement team to understand their IT/Digital procurement process.

In the upcoming sprint, the team will hold a project reference group meeting to agree on the high-level project plan, milestones and Terms of Reference. Hiren will review procurement options and register on suitable procurement frameworks.

July 2023

Over the next two weeks, the London Borough of Southwark team will focus on defining the project requirements in close collaboration with the project steering group. They will also work on completing the first draft of the DOS Outcomes Requirements template. The team is beginning to target suppliers to support the project delivery. This includes plans to reach out to potential suppliers from the provided CCS list for initial market scoping discussions.

August 2023

The South East London (SEL) team has recently defined the project requirements and completed the Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) Outcomes Requirements template. Southwark has signed up to the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Public Procurement Gateway and has begun uploading project requirements onto Lot 1 of the Digital Outcomes 6 framework.

During the final two weeks of August, the project team successfully began the procurement process by posting the opportunity on the Crown Commercial Services eSourcing portal. Their objective is to find a Discovery partner, and they are looking forward to engaging with suppliers’ questions.

As the project advances, they are preparing to shortlist with the borough partners. In addition, they held a productive meeting with the PUBLIC team. Discussions covered project evaluation and the team’s involvement in the Local Digital Fund programme. They looked into metrics, exchanged valuable insights and feedback regarding the received support.

September 2023

The South East London (SEL) team published the requirement for a partner on the Digital Outcomes framework. They received 30 supplier bids, however 29 of them lacked responses to essential Technical, Cultural, and Pricing criteria. They’ve raised this with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which will provide guidance on the next steps to take. This may cause a slight delay in procurement.

Next sprint, the SEL team will evaluate the supplier bids through a panel process. Their objective is to select 5 suppliers for the next stage, which involves presentations and proposals.

October 2023

The project team has completed the evaluation of the first stage of the procurement process. They’ve now shortlisted suppliers for stage 2 and published the requirements, which involves a written proposal and presentation.

They are currently arranging the supplier presentations for the upcoming sprint and are expecting to receive written proposals. Additionally, they are in the process of creating evaluation metrics for the discovery.