As the ninth largest local authority in the UK, Nottinghamshire County Council employs 10,000 people and has a yearly budget of over £500 million to administer services to Nottinghamshire’s growing population.
As well as managing roads, transport and schools, one of the council’s many services is to offer care and support to people in the community. This could be because of their age, illness, a disability or a personal situation. With more and more people receiving this care from the comfort of their own homes, the council needed a mobile solution to drastically cut down administration and increase the time Adult Social Care teams were spending in the community.
Doing more with less
Imagine delivering services that touch the lives of nearly 800,000 people.
Now imagine delivering those services and at the same time making savings of over £150 million, all before 2016. That’s what Nottinghamshire County Council is doing. Like all councils and public bodies today, the council has received a reduction in funding from Central Government. As a result, in the four years leading up to 2013, it saved a massive £130 million. Now however, the council has been asked to make further savings of £153m, all in the next year.
It’s a challenging time for all of the council’s services, but one area in particular is Adult Social Care, which requires visits out in the community to vulnerable adults and children, the elderly, as well as patients with health conditions and disabilities. With a changing demographic and a population who are living for longer, this means an increased workload, more home care visits and essentially doing more with less. “Frontline staff can spend around three to four hours at a time in people’s homes, whether that’s visiting vulnerable adults and children, or conducting home visits to those who live on their own or in community care centres.” explains Adam Crevald, ICT Group Manager for the council.
To meet the demands, Nottinghamshire County Council wanted to increase the productivity of its frontline staff, allowing them to conduct more visits out in the community. “In the past, staff would make hand written notes during visits and
then come back to the office to write up what they’d been told,” says Adam.
“It was time consuming, inefficient and meant that a lot of time was spent travelling back and forth to the office.” The council needed a solution that would empower and mobilise frontline staff to access patient data and take down information when out in the community.
Increased mobility for frontline workers
In 2013, Nottinghamshire County Council conducted a successful pilot with Vodafone. The iPad deployment saw 100 Apple devices provided to frontline workers in Adult Social Care at the council, all underpinned by Total Workforce Mobility. Using the tablets, frontline staff at Nottinghamshire County Council can now access emails, calendars and patient information.
There’s also no need to worry about access to data, as all the devices are linked to the council’s back office systems and work offline. “All they need to do is download case information for the day before their visits, and throughout the day they can access the documents they need,” explains Adam.
“They can also write up their case notes and complete assessments offline during visits and then once they have internet connection, the data will be automatically uploaded to the council’s office systems. All at the touch of a button.”
With notes and data on the devices, security is a must: “The tablets and the system used are extremely secure. We chose Vodafone and this solution for that very reason,” adds Adam.
Improved contact time in the community
Since using the tablets and the fully managed service from Vodafone, Nottinghamshire County Council have saved money, and something perhaps even more valuable, time. “Frontline staff no longer need to report back to the office after each visit, which is a huge time saver,” says Adam. “So much so that assessment processes have reduced by up to 90 minutes.”
These time-savings have enabled staff to spend more time out in the community. “Critical contact time has increased dramatically,” continues Adam. “Frontline staff are enjoying the fact that they have increased mobility and are spending so much less time travelling.” Jane Gilbert, Team Manager for Contact Support Service, says the technology has changed her life. “It cuts down the stress massively. I know records are up to date and I can give my team the support they need.”
It’s also much more efficient, with staff using less paper and saving 20,000 hours, due to less travelling and fewer wasted visits. “We’ve found a 20% reduction in travel time and costs, as well as a 17% improvement in productivity, all from the pilot alone,” adds Adam.
Since the partnership with Vodafone and the use of Total Workforce Mobility, Nottinghamshire County Council has seen a huge step towards that Central Government saving target of £153 million before 2016. “We’ve calculated that we will save around £3,600 per device, per year. Adding up to a massive annual saving of around £4.7 million.”
Following the success, the council are now on target to roll out a platform for up to 2,200 users by November 2015, and because Total Workforce Mobility works on any device, the council is equipping teams with Windows 8.1 devices. “The Public Sector Network security prefers devices to be managed centrally,” explains Adam. “And Windows 8.1 allows the council direct access through secure firewalls and meets the standards from the Cabinet Office.”
The switch from Apple to Microsoft will also give the Adult Social Care teams access to some of the Microsoft products they’re used to using in the office, including SharePoint for collaboration and Lync for messaging, all of which will remain underpinned by Vodafone.
Adult Social Care is just one of the many important services the council provides daily, and due to the huge success in this department, Adam hopes the tablets will be the catalyst for something greater, across the whole of the council. “If it can be done in Adult Social Care, it can be done in any of the teams at Nottinghamshire County Council.”