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Innovation projects in adult social care receive £42.6 million investment

Accelerating Reform Fund to support innovation in local areas to boost quality and accessibility of adult social care in England.

01/11/23

Innovation projects in adult social care receive £42.6 million investment

New projects to improve adult social care can bid for a share of a £42.6 million fund, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

The Accelerating Reform Fund will focus on trialling and expanding new approaches to providing care and improving services for unpaid carers and is part of the department’s Innovation and Improvement Unit.

It is intended to fund projects which support our 10-year vision for adult social care, which focuses on three objectives:
- Giving people have choice, control and support to live independent lives
- Making it so that people can receive outstanding quality and tailored care and support
- Making adult social care fair and accessible

Local authorities are invited to register their interest in partnership with others in their integrated care systems to fund local innovation projects, which will be evaluated for potential rollout across the country.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said she was “delighted” to see the sector developing creative ways to move towards the government’s 10-year vision for adult social care.

“Our selfless unpaid carers are often the unsung heroes of the care sector - which is why I’ve asked that they are at the heart of this funding, aimed at supporting locally tailored projects that boost the quality, accessibility and independence of care.”

Examples of projects include Shared Lives, a care and support service that matches people aged 16 and above who want to live independently in their community with Shared Lives carers. People move in with their Shared Lives carers and are supported within the context of the carer’s home and family. Support can vary depending on what suits the person, but can include temporary care and support, a day service or longer-term overnight care.

An independent cost comparison of Shared Lives found that it has significantly lower costs for people with learning disabilities and people with mental ill health than other forms of regulated social care, such as residential care. Research by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) found that Shared Lives can result in an average saving of £8,000 for people with mental health needs and £26,000 for people with learning disabilities.

The fund will support local authorities to take forward projects relevant to their local needs, working collaboratively with local partners in their integrated care system regions, including the NHS, care providers, and voluntary and community sector groups.

It will support at least 2 projects per region, with one of those having a particular focus on unpaid carers. All projects should consider the needs of people who receive care as well as unpaid carers, and ensure they are inclusive of the diverse needs of local populations.

SCIE will be offering hands-on support to local authorities to develop local partnerships and deliver projects. The institute will also collect and share valuable learnings from projects across the country.

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of SCIE, said their support will ensure participating projects benefit from shared learning and expert insights.

“We will shortly be offering a series of information sessions about the fund, what’s expected from programme participants and how to apply for funding, including with local partnerships.

“SCIE looks forward to working with local authorities to deliver the Accelerating Reform Fund for adult social care. This exciting programme focuses on scaling and spreading urgently needed social care innovation in key areas like supporting the UK’s incredible army of hardworking unpaid carers and delivering new care models.”

Those projects that are funded will be evaluated to inform future decisions on embedding models of care in the community and overcome barriers around the lack of evidence on efficacy in the future.

Local authorities, in collaboration with partners in their integrated care system area, are invited to submit their expression of interest to DHSC by 12 January 2024: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accelerating-reform-fund-for-adult-social-care

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