Preparing for the care cap: six months to go

A sponsored feature from Liquidlogic

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By Chris Sweeney, adult social care lead, Liquidlogic

It’s been over a year since the government announced its plan for adult social care reform to end the risk of unpredictable and unlimited care costs.  By now, many people are familiar with the key parts of the policy: the introduction of an £86,000 cap on the amount anyone will need to spend on their personal care over their lifetime and significant increases in the lower and upper capital thresholds, making many more people eligible for financial support.

Here, I talk about the implications of the care cap and the system developments we have been making over the last twelve months to support our customers through the changes. As I write this, much of our planning is coming to fruition, as we embark on rolling out our system developments to trailblazer customers ready for operation in spring next year.

The implications

As local authorities began preparing for the biggest change in social care for some time, they quickly became aware of the implications. The proportion of older people receiving care who have some  support from the state for their costs is expected to increase from around a half to two thirds. The government’s impact assessment estimates that the introduction of the cap and the raising of the upper capital limit will require councils to carry out an additional almost 300,000 social care assessments and reviews in 2024-25. This will be as a result of people requesting to open a care account to meter their progress to the cap and seeking local authority funding for their care under the raised upper capital limit.

There will be a whole cohort of people coming into the system, requiring needs and financial assessments, who local authorities previously had no sight of. This also is not a one-time event; ongoing reviews will be required in line with Care Act guidance to determine whether somebody’s financial or personal circumstances have changed and whether this impacts on how they meter towards their care cap.

T-minus six months to compliance

A year on and the focus on the care cap is the number one priority for councils as well as dominating adult social care agendas at Liquidlogic. This is understandable given that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said that local authorities should conduct needs and financial assessments of self-funders (newly captured for the means test or seeking to access the cap), where appropriate, from April 2023 onwards in preparation for the go-live date in October.

The pressing nature was evident at our latest webinar, which attracted a record-breaking attendance. Nearly 500 delegates joined to hear the latest developments from Liquidlogic and our partners, Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) and Imosphere, who provide technology solutions to help address the reform changes and ease the burden.

Digital readiness: where are we up to?

Further development of the Liquidlogic Adults’ Social Care (LAS) system is taking place to accommodate the care account and to cater for the adjustments in the upper capital limit. This includes using the system to create care accounts, receive applications and assess, monitor and manage accounts. We are also working on solutions to enable reporting functionality, so that services can forecast the approaching impact of people reaching their cap.

Customers who already use the Liquidlogic adults’ portal will be able to receive applications into their Liquidlogic Adults’ Social Care (LAS) system from that portal to process applications. Our portal platform enables applicants, their carers, family or representatives to complete self-assessments from home, and receive communication back securely and electronically. In addition to this, we are enhancing our self-service portals through the addition of new modules, to make the increase in demand more manageable. This includes:

  • The introduction of a module for supported self-assessments as part of care account applications, with local authorities having the ability to set locally configured rules around risk management, sampling and monitoring to audit and oversee self-service activity. By contract, users can flag and prioritise high value applications rather than wade through a work tray with thousands of applications.
  • Using our portal functionality to publish high level information about somebody’s care account to them, such as how much spend they have before they reach their cap and what the projected date is for reaching it. This will be located within the case management system (LAS) and can be published into the portals. More detailed information will sit in the client finance portal that comes from our partner OCC. I think that will be particularly important for people who have a degree of local authority funding and are making contributions, which can lead to their statement becoming more complex than others.
  • Addressing the challenge of portability. When people move from one authority area to another, such as to residential accommodation closer to relatives, they will need their care accounts to move with them. Social care case management providers will need to enhance APIs to exchange cases between systems, so that the care account can move seamlessly. This will reduce the burden on the destination local authority by having assessment and review details at their fingertips at the point of transfer. Additionally, this will benefit the adult as there isn’t the need to cover ground the previous authority has already been over. We are talking to other suppliers to agree a proposed framework using the Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) facility to exchange cases with other systems when people move between authorities. It is a facility which we are familiar with and is already tried and tested amongst some of our customers, who use the service to power hospital discharging.

Planning for deployment

As trailblazer authorities, Oxfordshire County Council, Cheshire East Council and North Yorkshire Country Council will have software deployments in December. These three local authorities are due to start metering people towards their care caps from early in the new year. We have been working collaboratively with our trailblazers and other interested authorities for a number of months now, and they have been able to participate in the refining of the final designs and assist in prioritisation of development effort. We anticipate continuing to work collaboratively with customers during their early implementation period, and will be planning a release to all customers in the spring of next year.

Is your service on track to being ready?

The implementation countdown has begun for some of the biggest changes in adult social care for several years. We see this as a joint challenge for local authority services and their IT providers, as IT will play a big role in making this new demand more manageable. Unfortunately, there is no time to lose.

To discuss your service’s digital readiness, please contact

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