Online Assessments for Social Care: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham’s requirement for an IT system to allow people and their representatives to self-refer into adult social care was realised at the end of January.  They successfully integrated OLM’s Online Assessments solution to their existing website and went live in just over six weeks.  OLM gave initial training which allowed Birmingham to configure the forms to capture the data and information they require from citizens. A huge achievement.

With the Care Act Part One already implemented and Part Two on its way, Birmingham anticipated an increase in demand, based on the Act and local demographics. They wanted to be pro-active and have the ability to provide an online platform, where citizens could refer into Adult Social Care. Andrew Marsh, Business Analyst, Directorate for People, at Birmingham Council explains:

“We have a wider vision at Birmingham. We want to achieve a channel shift for our citizens, and provide them with an alternative to the phones, we will now direct all professional referrals and wherever possible all citizens to our website, which provides them with 24/7 access to information and advice with the ability to self-assess online. The main catalysts for this were the Care Act and our desire to improve the overall customer experience. We want to reduce the waiting time for citizens, provide them with the opportunity to interact at a time to suit them and increase the efficiency and quality someone experiences when they contact adult social care in Birmingham.

We want to reduce the impact of increased demand at the front end of the business. The key benefit we are aiming for is to lower the call abandonment rate at our contact centre. We expect to achieve this through a reduction in calls as citizens and professionals move to make contact online, this will then allow easy access to our services on the phone by those people who are unable to interact with us on-line ensuring we provide all people contacting us with the most efficient service. With this desire in mind, we decided that the first forms we would move online would be the contact centre social care assessment forms. We started with these as they correspond with the most common types of calls that we receive.

To start the project, we involved the contact centre team, as original forms belonged to their department and the move online would affect their day-to-day roles. Overall project management was via the business change team, with Service Birmingham our IT partners also being involved. We wanted to involve as many teams as possible, show them the benefits that Online Assessments would bring to the business, whilst enlisting their help in simplifying existing forms and preparing for integration.

Selecting the right solution

We chose OLM’s Online Assessments solution because we needed a user friendly and cost effective solution that we could implement quickly. We needed something that would easily integrate with our existing site and to our social care system. Being handed a tight deadline meant that flexibility was key and OLM’s solution ticked all the boxes. It is very easy-to-use and will result in significant savings for the business.

In the six weeks following our training, we developed three contact forms on our website: 

  • Carers Contact Form

  • Adult Contact Form

  • Occupational Therapy Form

The next stage for us is to develop the online content that is available, analyse the statistics and begin to release additional forms onto the system, commencing with a form where someone will be able to gain an indicative cost of how much they may have to contribute towards the cost of their care Aligning forms to the Care Act is a critical consideration and one that we will continue to test with our citizens.

He added: “I’m very proud of the project and work undertaken in conjunction with OLM. The team at OLM was very professional and helped us at every step of the way, providing training and on-going support, which enabled us to complete on schedule.

It is essential with any web project that you focus on the user. Web can’t be a static. With our tool we can analyse, design, implement and validate our work. The additional functionality of the intelligence in OLM’s online forms allows Birmingham City Council to present relevant data/questions. Depending on the way a citizen responds, we can streamline the user journey, in a way that we couldn’t do before.”

For more information about OLM’s Online Assessments solution, please visit our website, or contact us directly