Oct 17

Social care's next big challenge

Posted: 2 October 2017

We’re supporting Get Online Week 2017 (2 – 8 October), helping employers in social care to embrace digital working and the benefits it can bring.

The Good Things Foundation estimates that 12.6 million adults in Britain don’t have the basic digital skills they need to benefit from the online world - and even today in this seemingly non-stop digital age nearly 6 million people have never used the internet.

It would seem that we’re still a digitally divided society - some 26 years since the internet came along to dominate our lives.

Those of us who use technology and the internet for work or leisure know the transformational way in which it can enrich our lives. From faster communication and cheaper products to social media and information for many of us the ways it can transform how we live our lives is evident.

As I write this blog, sat on a train, the woman next to me is using Whatsapp to remotely support her mum through a tricky GP’s appointment, across the way, a man reads from his Kindle and further down the carriage, a mum is checking train connections whilst on the phone to her childminder. Quite frankly, technology and the internet is everywhere we look and, being without it, can seriously block prospects for better employment and income.

Within social care, the picture is similar to that of the general population. We have employers and leaders whose passion for technology is enabling their organisation to leap forward digitally, giving fantastic new opportunities to the people they support. But we also have employers who know that one of the main barriers they face is getting some of their staff online and confident in using technology.

In our 2014 survey, we found a mixed picture of staff confidence and competence. To help adult staff feel confident and competent working digitally we have a range of resources including:

  • our digital strategy - which sets out how we can all implement digital working, learning and information sharing
  • it’s all about me – our recently published guide that explores why information collection, sharing and storage is important in social care and how the law is changing
  • a guide to core digital skills in social care - helps you to understand why people in social care need core digital skills and to identify what they are.

Let’s use Get Online Week to support staff getting online and make the excluded the included. For employers, it’s about using the tools available to them to ensure staff have the enthusiasm and skills to involve those who use services to design even better ways of using technology in care for the future.