Oxfordshire: £250,000+ in annual savings by improved commissioning

Oxfordshire County Council’s commissioning system from OLM Systems supports the drive to increase personal freedom for carers in the County

Oxfordshire has one of the most dispersed rural populations in the South East, with some 93,000 people in the area over the age of 65. The ageing population in the County makes supporting carers a particularly large job for Oxfordshire County Council, which is committed to easing the lives of as many carers as possible.

Oxfordshire County Council’s drive to implement the Putting People First agenda has led to exploration of new systems for booking respite care services.

Partnering with OLM Systems has resulted in the establishment of a system which specifically supports freedom and increased personalised care, allowing carers greater opportunity to plan their personal lives.

The challenge

The challenge for Oxfordshire was to maximise the use of its contracted beds with an efficient booking system. A variety of problems hindered efficiency within their previous system. It was managed using spreadsheets, index cards and whiteboards, with no centralised system of communication to ensure that updates and amendments were efficiently recorded and communicated. It was time for a change.

Neil Malcolm, Oxfordshire County Council’s service review manager made improvements to such services a priority.

Neil commented,

“Previously, we commissioned beds on an annual basis and bookings were made by local unit managers. With no central view of bookings, tracking alterations was very difficult, hindering best use of the facilities we had available for the carers who needed them.”

It was important for Oxfordshire not just to improve its bed occupancy figures, but also to smooth administrative procedures and alleviate some of the staffing constraints associated with respite care services.

The solution

OLM's commissioning solution was implemented to resolve the ongoing obstacles with booking records and to optimise usage of bed space for respite care services. As a modern digital solution it is accessible to carers and commissioners based in a variety of locations.

The system is securely hosted, allowing for safe password-protected access for staff when inputting, viewing and altering booking information. The system takes the hassle out of adhering to an annual maintenance schedule.

OLM's commissioning solution provides users with a booking calendar, which directly highlights and manages bed availability. The calendar allows commissioners to see full details when entering booking records.

Neil commented,

“OLM Systems offered a future-proof solution which would allow carers to take advantage of the services we provide for respite care. As well as a range of searching and management tools, the system allows for easy access to a variety of reports. These really help us with tracking our performance and managing the process more effectively.”

Clicking on a bed icon displays the booking form, which allows entry of relevant details and matching of each occupant’s individual needs. Entering details is quick and easy, with data saved instantly and safely on the system.

Complementing the calendar is the email/fax system, which automates the booking process. Emails are sent to clients, commissioners or social workers with booking details or alterations, accompanied by various useful details such as the reasoning behind cancellations/amendments.

The benefits

  • 25% increase in bed utilisation

  • Savings are equivalent to about £250,000 every year

  • Better service to all carers in the area

There has been 25% increase in bed utilisation since OLM's solution was implemented, showing a clear improvement in capacity.

Neil commented,

“We are delighted with the sustained increase in the usage of our respite care services since implementation. Compared with our previous way of managing the process, and taking into account the resources our booking system no longer consumes, savings are equivalent to about £250,000 every year."

"We now spend less time and effort managing the process and as a result, have been able to put these valuable resources to much better use.”

Users have commented that the system is ‘easy’ and ‘intuitive’ to use and that, ‘when you click on an icon the windows which open are in context and relevant’.