As we all know, one big aspect of delivering effective services under financial pressure is making the right commissioning decisions, based on a combination of expected demand, and local policy choices about how to meet that demand in the best way for the local community. We’ve also seen that according to research by the Local Government Information Unit with The Municipal Journal, 65% of authorities expect to have to use their reserves this year, putting extra urgency on smart commissioning. This blog post explains more about how we are trying to tackle that challenge.

We recently posted a video showing the experience for decision-makers of using our new special educational needs and disability services (SEND) demand model. We built a mathematical model to predict needs in that particular service line as it’s one of the most challenging to get right: the complex combination of multiple types of need, multiple options for school placements, and an ever-changing landscape of incoming demand (for example, the recent rise in autism diagnoses) means that simpler forecasting approaches can’t give commissioners the numbers they need: to make the right decisions about what places to commission; whether to serve certain need types within or outside the authority’s boundaries; and what types of school facilities and capacity they should be creating decades into the future. We achieve this probabilistically, by learning about what has happened in the past and running thousands of simulations of possible futures, based on an authority’s local offer and need profile, and their own costs.

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We’re now supporting a number of authorities with their SEND demand modelling and commissioning thoughts, and moving on to developing new models for an even bigger challenge: Adult Social Care

adult social care: the next frontier

Even more than SEND, Adult Social Care is an area which combines high human impact (where good commissioning makes a huge positive difference to people’s lives); complex and ever-evolving demand; and continued financial pressures. Building on the success of our SEND modelling, we’re now developing an Adult Social Care demand model, to help with the same kind of demand forecasting and commissioning choices, particularly for older adults who need home care or residential services as they age. This forecasting is important both in the near term (getting the right staffing profiles and availability to deal with this winter), and in the mid to long term (defining and market-making for the right residential and reablement placements to be available for expected demand), helping commissioners to get the right mix of block and spot provision in the right specialisms. We’re really excited about the potential for this model to help local authority and health partners to co-ordinate the right decisions for their local community, leading to the best possible outcomes for older people.

If you’re interested in using our existing SEND model, or in sharing what you’d want from the new Adult Social Care model, please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you at [email protected].

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