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Socitm presses case for digital in social care


Briefing highlights the need for step up the use of technology in supporting care clients

Public sector IT association has called for local authorities to make social care staff more aware of the future importance of digital technology in the sector.

In its new Promotion of Online Services briefing, drawn up with the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, it says that everyone involved in social care should understand how online facilities work, and that employers should become digital champions.

This needs social care departments to develop a good understanding of current trends in the development of the internet and the major influences on the ‘digital divide’, and to work on inclusion programmes of awareness, training and ongoing support.

While there is a significant issue with the reluctance of some older people to take to digital self-service, this is being reduced by the availability of inexpensive and easy-to-use devices. Also, elderly clients are likely to be supported by family, friends or social workers who can go online on their behalf.

The briefing says that when employees understand how the online system works, they can help clients and carers use the same facilities. They can also set the expectation that council services will be online wherever possible.

Examples of councils where there has been strong activity in driving online take-up include Kirklees, Liverpool, Hertfordshire, Croydon and Newham.

Sections of the briefing cover the need for a system to measure take-up, using data to provide insights on how people react to online services, and the need for digital principles to drive channel shift in the sector.

Picture by Lisa Marie, CC 2.0 through flickr

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