Advice for councils using AI in social care outlined in new guide

A new guide providing advice to councils and adult social care providers on how best to use emerging technology has been published by a university research body. 

The guide covers a range of new technologies including artificial intelligence and data gathering tech and is informed by findings from a University of Birmingham and RAND Europe study funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. 

woman in brown button up shirt holding white smartphone

Helen Whately, the Minister for Social Care, said: ‘As part of our social care reforms we will encourage care providers to take up opportunities to use technology to improve care, but this won’t happen overnight. That’s why we’ve helped to develop this guide. It will help care organisations make more use of innovations in what they do day-to-day.’ 

Four steps are set out in the guide to help councils and social care providers to safely and effectively use these new technologies including being clear about what is trying to be achieved, choosing the best technology to match your needs and understanding potential risks, and building in evaluation to your processes. 

The importance of communicating properly with those who will be using or affected by the technology is also highlighted in the advice, including that providers should ensure they inform people of the data being collected on them and how it will be used. 

Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘Introducing new and emerging technology is exciting – but it’s easy for things to go wrong. We hope that this research and guide will help social care colleagues by paying attention to how we make good decisions, bring people with us and get the best out of new ways of working.’ 

The guide was produced through the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre, and is co-badged by Digital Social Care and social care partners within the NHS England Transformation Directorate, you can read it in full here. 

Use of technology to aid in the delivery of adult social care has been showcased by many projects in recent years, including a pilot trial of virtual assistant tech and a trial by BT to test interconnected smart plugs monitoring the activity of care home residents.

Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger


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