Creating a new ASC forecasting model to assist a local authority with planning and decision making, following funding cuts and changes impacting funding and service utilisation.
We set up to develop a fully flexible new tool, able to be configured to local requirements. We aimed to develop a new budgeting tool to enable local authorities to calibrate to financial reports, and forecast based on present assumptions about the future.
Our client, a local authority was concerned at its lack of planning tools around planning for spending in adult social care (“ASC”), and required a tool enabling forecast of service users, service utilisation, and costs occurring within adult social care over a number of years, and understanding implications of changing the structure of key areas.
This followed a previous project with the local authority around resource allocation. As the resource allocation system (the “RAS”) is considered a key future driver of changes in service utilisation and potential efficiencies in ASC, it was indicated this should form an integral part of the model.
The service model needed to be aligned to the current service, enabling the cost drivers behind each service to be accurately modelled, and it would be calibrated to its management reports to ensure that it was reflective of the current service. This would enable it to be recalibrated on a periodic basis, and the assumptions could be tested and refined in line with data collected on an ongoing basis.
This would help estimate funding shortfalls associated with continuing the current service and enable the impact of various service scenarios to be quantified.. This would also be required to develop and assess outcomes from possible new service configurations.
A model was developed using advanced excel and ensuring submission of working versions to the client and experts in this area to ensure feedback was received to ensure the model was fit for purpose, sufficiently flexible to adapt to changing requirements, aligned to client data and not overly cumbersome to update.
The project commenced with a number of planning sessions with the client to discuss requirements, and in particular discuss the current user pathway to ensure we could replicate the user journey, and points of interaction – such as testing eligibility and performing assessments, aligned to existing policy.
The model replicates the user pathway to estimate contact/intervention points such as entry into system and change in circumstances, and estimates the resultant number of users in long term care each year – one of the key focus points is on reducing this.
Once configured and implemented, the service planner is owned and used by the council to forecast service outcomes and update with live data including user population growth, service utilisation and existing reforms across user groups
The model is developed to reflect impact of alternative new service scenarios, and has been designed to accurately predict impact of current service initiatives
The model allows the user to adjust the following features:
- Services defined including long term care, preventative care and reablement services
- Forecast service user numbers by user group type reflecting recent trends and overall population growth
- Stratify users by level of need aligned to FACS eligibility bandings, and profile service utilisation accordingly – aligned to current (and future) eligibility for services
- Internal and external providers providing services and profiled by cost structure, capacity, tariff, and fixed costs or block contract – and reflecting changes in service providers used, (reflecting move to more external tariff based services or block contracts)
- Adjusting funding criteria to reflect charging and predict impact on demand for services
- Reablement of new and existing users, impact on long term care services, and longevity of benefit achieved
- Impact of the RAS in shifting users to individual budgets and impact on funding and service utilisation
The model was also designed to ensure smart navigation, and interactive dashboard and reports allowing the user to develop an understand impact of alternative future service scenarios.
After being rolled out the model has continued to be supported by Benson Wintere to ensure the client can continue to use it and perform changes as required.
The model has provided the local authority with a new strategic framework to assist medium and long term service planning, quantify potential impact of decisions around ASC service structure, and encourage better data collection to refine assumptions.
This has also provided an opportunity to develop generic components within the model that can be configured to other local authorities’ requirements.