Twelve councils have been chosen by NHS Digital to explore how digital technologies can improve social care.

The initiative, commissioned by NHS Digital and managed by the Local Government Association (LGA), will feature a series of pilot projects run by councils with the view of benefiting people who access social care services.

Amongst the proposals put forward include exploring how biometric technology could be used to assist people with learning disabilities and autism in the Wirral, as well as how “skills passports” might help improve the social care employment and training processes in Havering, London.

Twelve councils have been awarded £20,000 each in the first phase of funding, which will see local authorities investigate challenges that could be addressed through digital technology. These include:

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

Six of these will then be chosen to receive up to £80,000 in additional funding, to design and implement their solution.

James Palmer, programme lead for the social care programme at NHS Digital, said there had been some “really exciting proposals”.

He added: “The successful projects span a wide range of areas, from assistive technologies to predictive analytics. This funding will give the local authorities a chance to identify and investigate a local problem before testing out a potential solution.

“They will be sharing their experiences from the pilot projects, adding to our collective knowledge of how digital can effectively be used to support the delivery of adult social care.

NHS Digital recently made available £1.1m in funding for organisations that can develop solutions to bridge the data gap between health and social care settings.

Kate Allsop, digital lead on the LGA’s community and wellbeing board, said councils would be meeting with users over the next three months to discuss social care challenges that could be addressed through digital initiatives.

“The councils selected have chosen some important areas to address ranging from exploring new methods of linking residents with community resources to addressing social care provider workforce shortages,” Allsop said.

“Projects will be designed around the needs of service users and complement the work of health and social care professionals. We will ensure that learning is shared across the sector.”

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