Councils should appoint digital champions to promote the further development of connected technology in social care, according to a new report.
Mobile UK, the industry association for mobile network operators, has highlighted the point as one of the key messages in its Connected Care paper, focused on how mobile connectivity can help to overcome challenges in adult social care.
Among its recommendations is that appointed digital champions can help set local strategy and policy around digital connectivity, especially in the future deployment of 5G, emphasising the positive effect it can have on social services, housing and environmental services.
It also recommends that councils make the infrastructure for connectivity a priority within their local development plans, saying that Mobile UK’s own research has found that planning approval rates for this tend to be higher when digital champions are in place.
This should come with other efforts to support the roll out of infrastructure, such as making the assets of all public sector bodies available for siting mobile apparatus, and introducing business rates relief for relevant development, especially in hard to reach areas.
The report also highlights how the use of mobile technology in adult social care can help vulnerable people live independently, and can support the attraction and retention of staff through better working conditions and upskilling.
Commenting on the report, Mobile UK’s chief executive Hamish MacLeod said: “With the pressure on councils more pronounced than ever and social care one of the biggest challenges they face it is important that the role of digital connectivity and the opportunities it offers are better understood."
"Our report highlights many of these opportunities both to the council and those in need, calling for mobile connectivity to be more heavily integrated into council policy and planning.”