In 2019, roughly 14,000 financial assessments were conducted by Kent County Council (KCC), including 8,400 over the phone. Staff time is spent organising appointments and conducting assessments, and there is currently no way for clients to get an estimate, upload information or complete a financial assessment themselves online.
FutureGov ran a three month discovery into KCC’s financial assessments experience within Adult Social Care to identify areas for improvement. Together, we wanted to explore ways to digitise their processes to reduce the number of query calls, which would enhance resident experiences and save staff hours of time.
Throughout the project, we mapped the as-is journey, identified and prioritised opportunities, prototyped ideas, tested and created a roadmap for development for the financial assessment process. Towards the end of the project, we also conducted a technology-based discovery to understand the constraints of KCC’s existing tech systems, which helped shape our recommended implementation steps.
The three-month discovery included 12 in-depth interviews with residents, 11 interviews and five workshops with senior and junior members from different subteams of both CFS and Adult Social Care (ASC). We also ran two meetings with KCC’s tech solution providers and sense-making and synthesis sessions.
Care needs assessments normally take place before a financial assessment. At the time residents have conversations with ASC care needs assessors, their care needs are established but they have yet to find out from the financial assessor how much they have to pay. Our research with residents told us that having to commit to care without knowing how much it would cost often causes frustration.
Our research with ASC participants revealed that even though there are existing resources, e.g. training materials, to support ASC staff to have conversations around finances with residents, they’re hard to digest and therefore underutilised.
Insights from our research also revealed that the content and layout of invoices are not led by user needs (but rather assumed technology limitations). Some residents find these invoices hard to understand, as they fail to explain what they’re being charged for and KCC’s contribution.
The current service is ultimately fragmented due to structured workflows. There's an opportunity to better support practitioners to have conversations with residents upfront around their finances and improve ways of working to increase collaboration and communication between teams.
To address these concerns we produced prototypes that the team can take forward and implement focusing on practitioner guidance and an improved invoice.
Prototype 1: Practitioner guidance
The practitioner guidance aims to support practitioners to have better conversations with residents around finances as they conduct care needs assessments.
We included a conversation and digital guide, both explain essential paying for care information such as financial support eligibility, logic and the processes of the financial assessment. The digital guide also contains links to existing resources and can become a FAQ webpage that enables residents to serve themselves.