by Matthew Wood-Hill, Delivery Manager, Local Digital
We recently presented the Local Digital Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) calculator project at the National Association of Financial Assessment Officers (NAFAO) annual conference in Birmingham.
Given that these are the people in different local authorities who assess and green light DPAs on a daily basis, this was a key group to get feedback from.
The DPA calculator project brought together a group of eight different councils to discuss how a digital tool could help them to respond to changes in adult social care policy brought about by the Care Act in 2014. Local authorities are all now required to offer DPAs, and the deferred payment agreement calculator APIs offer a way to manage enquiries around eligibility online.
The presentation was well received by the audience, who are eager to see how it fits into their existing processes. One Financial Assessment Officer from Stoke-on-Trent, said that though his council had been offering DPAs prior to the Care Act, there are now many more hoops to jump through, so the calculator could be an invaluable time-saver in determining a resident’s position at the start of the process.
The three APIs – the bits of programming that underlie the tool – can be accessed for free on our product page.
They perform the following functions:
1. They calculate DPA eligibility
2. They use rules and parameters from the Central Government for DPA eligibility – which will be updated if these change
3. They collect anonymised feedback to inform the service.
Councils will still need to develop the front end of the service themselves. This caused some questions about how far the tool is ‘free’ if just the calculator is developed. Others suggested it had value in being so open and customisable as it could be incorporated into existing tools they are using for social care self-assessment.
A further role for the calculator is in providing citizens with information. To this end we see it being a useful tool for charities and organisations providing advice on social care and financing options. Few councils make home visits to discuss DPAs, but this is an area where the third sector has greater reach.
Useful, freely available resources for councils:
- Access our DPA calculator product page – a hub for everything related to the product
- The three APIs can be accessed here
- The developers who built the tool, IEG4, have a series of demonstrator videos on their website.