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Birmingham’s adult social care department upgrades data capability


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Birmingham City Council’s adult social care department is planning to make better use of data analytics to manage and forecast future demand for its services.

It has upgraded its data capabilities with the provision of a system from Affinity Works including a Demand Model dashboard and is planning to use it initially to inform its budgeting for 2020-21.

Michael Walsh, head of service commissioning for adult social care, said the council is beginning with a low key approach and will begin to explore further possibilities with the system as the year goes on.

“At the moment we’re working on some of the first information to plug into the model,” he said. “We want to see how much we can use it as a tool for forecasting and monitoring.

He said that so far Birmingham has input data on care packages going back to 2015, taking in volumes of home, residential and nursing care and supported living, which can be used in the analysis of trends by factors such as the ages of clients and the reasons for support. This can provide it with hundreds of potential reports to better understand factors that will influence the future demand for care.

It plans to use the system to feed into its budget planning for the next financial year. Walsh said this could be particularly useful in budgeting for long term care packages.

Previous approach

Previously it has used in-house tools and focused largely on applying population growth forecasts to spending trends, but believes it can now carry out more sophisticated and robust statistical modelling. The new system provides more granular insights and makes it possible to generate reports with many combinations of variables.

“We are delivering a new approach to adult social care with a much greater focus around early intervention, prevention and engaging people with what is available to support them in their community,” Walsh said. “It’s going to be really helpful to have something to track the impact of those, set against the prediction that the tool gives us as a forecast of what will happen if we carry on as at the moment.”

Image from iStock, Slobodan Vasic

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