Having the right data to inform decision making around planning and budgeting for Adult Social Care is vital during times of stability and even more so during a pandemic. When Worcestershire County Council adopted Landscape for Social Care, a powerful predictive tool to analyse social care requirements, it took collaboration and plenty of juggling to work around the biggest national and global disruption in recent times.
Tracey Griffiths, Project Lead at Affinity Works explains how success was achieved:
Worcestershire (WCC) signed up to Landscape in early 2020 and just as we were getting going, the pandemic hit. Like most local authorities, many projects including Landscape were parked whilst staff were redeployed so they could respond to the problems arising in their area.
During the WCC’s project shutdown period Affinity Works (AW) project activities continued. A test environment was established and three of Landscape’s report collections built with open data were made ready for when WCC were able to re-activate their project team; namely Quality & Capacity, Delayed Transfer of Care (DToC) and Population & Prevalence.
Data Transfer Solution
By September, Worcestershire had resource ready to start with data transfer from the local ContrOCC system the immediate priority. The AW team worked closely with WCC’s IT and IG teams to establish an operational data feed, facilitated by shrink-wrapped extract scripts for ContrOCC that are available as part of the wider Landscape solution. No local analyst resources were required to extract data and it was simple to get the reports that analyse and present the local data back to Landscape up and running. Embedding of the scripts in WCC’s ‘Extract Transform and Load’ toolset ensured the data transfer process was fully automated for the Local Authority.
Enabling Technology, Energy & Enthusiasm
As soon as the project reactivated the AW and WCC teams switched to meeting over Microsoft Teams, an early example of the rapid transition the sector has seen in its mode of working – shifting from face-to-face site visits and phone calls to the enabling technology that has allowed us to continue to deliver through the constraints of lock-down.
The WCC project team, despite working against the challenging backdrop of an increasing workload caused by re-emerging COVID cases, maintained their energy and enthusiasm for the project. As soon as the local finance system data was available they started exploiting Landscape to support internal work streams even before formal transition into Business as Usual.
Delivery in a Pandemic
From a supplier perspective the timely shift to virtual working and the energy and enthusiasm of the LA team have been critical enablers of the project. In addition, the customer having a dedicated customer PM resource as a single point of contact throughout was invaluable helping ensure targeted timescales were achieved with only minor delays that were inevitable as WCC continued to deal with high priority issues around COVID.
The project has also benefited from active ongoing support of senior sponsors ensuring that the work to get WCC live with Landscape retained its profile and its resourcing amongst other competing priorities.
This powerful combination of factors helps you deliver a project when there is a pandemic on!
Worcestershire’s live Landscape site was established in December and users are being trained throughout January and 2021. Teams from Commissioning are going to be using the system along with Performance and other Adult Social Care stakeholders, but the Finance team will be first up having spotted Landscape as a key tool to support local budgeting and planning.
‘’Good management information has never been more important, especially around Adult Care, and we have been working with Affinity Works to implement their ground-breaking Landscape product. This is now in place and is changing the way we make decisions and view our trends and data. Given the challenge of the last year we have appreciated both the expertise and flexibility in approach shown by Affinity and their personal commitment to develop and adapt solutions to meet our specific needs.’’
Michael Hudson. Chief Financial Officer. Worcestershire County Council