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WHY PUBLICLY FUNDED SOCIAL CARE SHOULD COME WITH PROOF OF SERVICE

As public scrutiny of the care sector continues to make headlines, a recent article made national news when a care worker was shown to fabricate their timesheet and visit reports – falsely claiming that visits to a handicapped man were made and for lengthy durations.

The case demonstrated that without the Local Authority (LA) specifying the use of a system to provide independent verification of service delivery, negligent care workers can easily make fraudulent claims, leaving care undelivered, which is unbeknown to the commissioner.

Much of social care work today is contracted out by LAs to Independent Care Providers (ICPs), 6,000+ of which are operating in the UK. As “paymasters”, many LAs now require some form of electronic verification of service provision. However, there are still many that don’t, and some estimates indicate that only half of all publicly funded care is monitored electronically.

Richard Bedford, Head of Care at Ezitracker Ltd, commented: “More than 500,000 people rely on help at home with activities such as washing and dressing. Most Local Authorities across the UK contract out homecare services to Independent Care Providers and the vast majority of these do an excellent job, often in highly demanding circumstances.  However, there will always be rogue care workers that rush visits, or don’t visit at all and others that falsify timesheets for financial gain – that’s why electronic verification of service provision is so important.”

Electronic verification systems such as the Ezitracker service use the telephone network and data capture technology to provide real-time information on the whereabouts of care workers, enabling LAs and ICPs to fully and effectively monitor remote working.  Ezitracker ensures that managers are made aware of any service breakdown, whilst also safeguarding care workers.  Ezitracker also replaces paper timesheets, which eliminates the scope for timesheet abuse and fraud, usually resulting in significant financial savings.

ICPs sometimes prefer to have a choice over the systems that they use, yet the thousands of ICPs that have been asked to adopt systems for electronic proof of service delivery actually soon appreciate the benefits: by knowing the real-time whereabouts of all their staff, ICPs can be made aware of missed or late visits and those that do not meet the specified duration. By taking steps to overcome issues such service breakdown, they can also enhance their relationships with funding authorities. ICPs that demonstrate they already have electronic proof of service delivery in therefore usually placed to win new work.

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