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LGA - Demand management microsite for councils launched

A microsite showcasing examples where councils in England have saved money and improved services for residents by managing demand has been launched by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Councils are facing the twin challenge of funding reductions and increasing demand on their services.

This resource equips councils with the knowledge and tools they need to manage demand effectively. It demonstrates how councils are changing their relationship with residents to better understand and manage demand.

Examples include Wiltshire where the Help-to Live at Home service is an outcomes-based model for commissioning domiciliary care with payment-by-results on rehabilitation. Wiltshire is placing 163 fewer people every year in long-term care since launch, while its demographic data had forecast this to rise by 200 placements. Wiltshire estimates this reduction is worth around over £5 million since its 2011/12 launch.

In Cumbria, Allerdale Borough Council used a QR code to enable customers to report fly tipping and dog fouling. The QR code uses a smartphone GPS to send location data to the council's system that manages its street operatives. The ‘Spot the Grot' campaign contributed to a sharp increase in the number of reports from customers being made via the website and the council's online forms.

Demand arises when residents turn to councils to fulfil needs. This could be as simple as reporting fly-tipping. Demand can also be complex and require long-term resources, such as residential care need following a hospital admission.

The LGA said some demand is avoidable. For example offering an app enabling residents to report fly-tipping via smartphone rather than having to call or email. The council receives richer information and residents are able to report issues when convenient, saving both time.

Other demand is preventable. For instance, with care for older people, when the right actions are taken early – such as fixing trip and slip risks around the home – this can help prevent falls and preserve independence for longer. This reduces the need for hospital admission and rehabilitation services.

Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board, said:

"Demand management is about ensuring the right services reach the right resident when and where they need it for the best cost. By doing this you improve experience, reduce duplication and save on unnecessary costs.

"Examples where money can be saved include enabling customers to serve themselves, targeting resources, and aligning supply more closely to demand. Managing demand begins by recognising the root causes that drive demand. The behaviours, expectations and default actions of both residents and service providers can magnify and multiply demand.

"Any attempt to manage demand, while also seeking to improve outcomes, must be based on an understanding of how people – both those using and delivering services – behave, and what they want, need and aspire to.

"Questions that need to be answered include who uses your services, how they access them and where the blockages are in the system? By understanding and using this information you can then better redesign the process so that residents and staff can use and access services more easily and resources be targeted more effectively."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Visit the demand management microsite 

CASE STUDIES:

Lancashire County Council used the list of residents registered for Assisted Bin Collections as an indicator for customers who were likely to have other, related needs. The partners also cross-referenced the register against social demographic profiling to identify customers who may need Assisted Bin Collections but who are unaware of the service. During the course of the project 288 Home Fire Safety checks were carried out, avoiding potential domestic fires and the need for hospitalisation and rehousing.

Northamptonshire County Council has benefitted from efficiency savings from its online website for free school meal applications. Using the service has reduced the cost from £6.70 for paper applications with paper proof of benefit, to £2.14 using the website. Based on existing volumes using the service, this represents a £55,000 annual saving.

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