Refine and recalibrate local authority Resource Allocation System (RAS)

Refine and recalibrate local authority Resource Allocation System (RAS)

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Assess current process and implement new improved process providing assurance and ensuring equitable, financially sustainable allocations to adult social care users, linked to an overall financial framework and embracing current national and local strategies around resource allocation and personalisation.

Issue

A local authority required assistance reviewing and refining its Resource Allocation System and was interested in the tools available from Benson Wintere – including the Resource Allocation Tool (“RAT”) it had developed and refined since the initial produce was developed.

The local authority had already performed a lot of work in developing its self assessment questionnaire (“SAQ”) and collected a significant amount of data via a desktop sample of current service users.

However there were still some concerns at the local authority around:

  • How they could decide whether the structure of the SAQ and the points framework were actually working and appropriate to local service users
  • Learning lessons from what was happening to other local authorities, and how this aligned to any established best practice
  • A methodology for understanding how the new RAS impacted service users, particularly as this represented a move from separately managed to universal budget allocation, which represented potential volatility to funding for service user groups
  • A way of ensuring financial sustainability and aligning to the overall ASC budget
  • Which allocation method was most appropriate in meeting the needs of service users
  • Ensuring an ongoing process was in place so that those who needed to could receive information about the RAS and allocations being performed

Solution

The project addressed these requirements across three sequential project phases:

Part 1 – Development of SAQ framework

  • Discussion about themes and principles guiding the development of the self assessment questionnaire (“SAQ”)
  • Advice / development sessions with working group regarding structure of SAQ
  • Provide useful templates / alternative approaches taken elsewhere and discuss pros/cons
  • Automation of the SAQ form into a spreadsheet for use with testing enabling those involved in the cohort / live testing phases a much quicker tool to record results, also providing a basis for the rollout of the electronic version to service users
  • Provide advice and resources in addition to the above regarding all aspects of creating a suitable RAS system

Part 2 – RAS Allocation Tool (“RAT”) Development

  • A fully flexible tool that can be configured to local requirements to assist understanding of performing allocations in different ways – this includes using an alternative allocation methodology, filtering specific user groups, and revisions to contingency level
  • Arrive at a calibrated financially sustainable allocation table (pounds to points), which could then be updated and recalibrated in the future, and uploaded into the electronic questionnaire
  • Provide three alternative RAS Allocation methodologies (Fixed Pounds Per Point, Percentile and Incremental Pounds Per Point)
  • Provide different levels of information that could be easily understood by staff at different levels including heads of service and directors of Adult Social Care
  • A universal tool combining different user groups of Adult Social Care to arrive at indicative allocations for service users whilst being able to individually analyse impact on specific user groups and compare the transition from respective pre-RAS funding levels
  • Assistance with setting up and populating the tool, easily adapt results and data relating to existing cohort of services users into the tool to ensure minimal duplication of effort
  • Assess the level of representativeness and statistical confidence of the cohort

Part 3 – Live RAS Data Management and Recalibration Process

  • Ongoing support for those updating the tool with new data, future recalibration and changes to the structure of the RAT

Outcome

The revised SAQ is now considered to provide fairer needs assessments for local service users. As the points have been restated on the updated basis it has been recalibrated based on the restated points scored by the initial cohort of users.

The live RAT continues to be used, following a decision around particular service groups to be omitted from the original RAS eligibility criteria. This decision was based around analysis from the RAT enabling the local authority to assess the impact of the RAT based on including/excluding these service groups, and the impact on other service users in terms of indicative allocations being produced by the RAT.

Benson Wintere has continued its positive relationship and continues to work with the local authority on updates to the RAS.

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