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Nine councils awarded funding to use digital innovation to create social care of the future

Biometric devices measuring anxiety triggers for people with autism and exoskeleton devices for carers are among nine social care digitisation projects to receive extra funding from NHS Digital and the Local Government Association.
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Biometric devices measuring anxiety triggers for people with autism and exoskeleton devices1 for carers are among nine social care digitisation projects to receive extra funding from NHS Digital and the Local Government Association.

Other projects funded include online financial self-assessment and benefits checker tools, and an app for social care providers, enabling them to collate important employment information to improve the care worker recruitment process.

The Social Care Digital Innovation Programme, commissioned by NHS Digital and managed by the Local Government Association, tasked councils to create digital pilots that will advance frontline practice, improving systems and enabling integration across adult social care.

Earlier this year, twelve councils were awarded £20,000 each in the first ‘discovery’ phase of funding, to investigate local challenges that could be addressed using digital technology.  Up to £700,000 has been made available and nine projects have now been chosen to design and implement their solution.

The successful councils are2:

  • Bracknell Forest Council
  • London Borough Havering
  • Isle of Wight Council
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sunderland City Council
  • Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

James Palmer, Programme Lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “The successful projects all showed great promise during their discovery phase, looking at a wide range of areas from data visualisations and online financial assessment tools to wearable tech and exoskeleton devices. 

“These are some really exciting proposals and I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes. We will be sharing learning from the projects, with a view to these blueprints supporting other social care providers looking to innovate in the same area.”

Kate Allsop, Executive Mayor of Mansfield and Digital Lead on the LGA’s Community and Wellbeing Board, said: “These important projects will improve people’s experience of care and support as part of efforts to support people’s wellbeing. All of this year’s cohort have shown true innovation which made it extremely difficult to decide who to fund for implementation.

“The discovery phase has enabled a detailed study of user needs to determine the scope of some really interesting projects. These projects will add real value to the sector and will push the boundaries of digital innovation for social care across the country.”

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Notes to editors

  1. Exoskeletons are wearable devices that work in tandem with the user. They are placed on the user’s body and act as amplifiers that augment, reinforce or restore human performance.
  2. The successful projects are as follows:

Bracknell Forest

Installation of interactive digital information kiosks and digital advertising with user designed content in key public locations which will provide information on community support and activities for residents to encourage participation and combat loneliness.


Developing an app for social care workers to aid in sharing employment information securely and easily (e.g. DBS checks, training, employment history etc) to speed up the employment process, when moving on from care home or home care organisations.

Isle of Wight

Establish a pilot with informal carers (people looking after loved ones in their own home) to see whether the use of exoskeleton devices can assist the carer with their day to day manual handling tasks. A business case and specification shaped by the informal carers for exoskeleton devices will be developed and regulation and national interest for this area will be researched.


Development of an online financial self-assessment and benefits checker tools for users who are likely to be self-funding or receive direct payments for social care packages. This should speed up the process and reduce the number of care packages that are put in place and then cancelled due to the cost of the package.


A portal for social workers and social care providers will be developed to capture the outcomes that service users wish to achieve. Care providers can use the portal to match the outcomes with the care package they offer at a glance and social workers can then monitor progress to meet the outcomes as the care provider updates the portal. 


Data visualisation tool to assist the care home and domiciliary care market identify key areas of need in a locality by aggregating data to improve commissioning approaches.


Introducing fast-track installation of new individually tailored assistive technology devices to reduce the number of telecare false alarms and to ensure appropriate monitoring to help residents live independently at home for as long as possible.


Deployment of four devices to support medication management, monitoring mood, nutrition and hydration, and moving around the home. A platform will also be developed which is able to present the data collected by the technology in a meaningful and simple way for residents and council staff to help plan support.


Provide biometric wearable devices to people with autism and complex learning disabilities. The data from the devices will be analysed to identify triggers of anxiety, which will inform the care and support arranged for that individual.


NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend.  During the 2017/18 financial year, NHS Digital published 275 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.

For media enquiries please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888. Follow us on Twitter: @NHSDigital


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Last edited: 14 May 2019 1:01 pm