A new sector-led service offering digital support for social care providers has been launched following a £793,000 investment from NHS Digital.   

The Care Provider Alliance will work to understand current levels of digital maturity within the social care sector and assist providers with the adoption of new technologies.

This includes working with providers to develop national guidance that can support more integrated care and “set the foundations for open digital standards within the social care sector.”

The Alliance will also help establish a core set of requirements for care providers to abide by when procuring new IT systems, and provide best practice advice to help social care organisations manage relationships with IT suppliers.

Nic Fox, NHS Digital’s director of primary care and social care, said: “Enabling information to be shared safely and securely between the NHS, local government and social care providers has the potential to really improve standards of care and the way that care is delivered.

“It’s really important to stress that the work being done here is by the sector, for the sector, which will help to move the digital standards conversation forward within the care provider community.”

The Care Provider Alliance is made up of the ten main national associations that represent independent and voluntary adult social care providers in England. They work to represent the sector and “ensure a coordinated response to the major issues that affect it”, NHS Digital said.

As well as assisting with the adoption of new digital technologies, the Alliance will help social care organisations make the most of digital resources that are already available.

The project is funded as part of the Digital Transformation Portfolio’s social care programme.

Ian Turner, chairman of the Registered Nursing Home Association, representing the Care Provider Alliance, said: “We are really excited to be working with NHS Digital on this project. Safe and efficient information sharing has the potential to really transform the way care is delivered in the social care sector.

“What’s also really positive is the fact that all of the work will be done in collaboration with the social care sector, enabling the sector to drive the agenda.”