In this article we unpack the full details of the ARF, summarising key points, opportunities, timelines, and next steps so that you can take full advantage of the ARF's offerings.
Whether you are a local authority or in the technology-enabled care sector, the ARF is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss!
What is ARF?
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) of the United Kingdom has initiated the Accelerating Reform Fund (ARF), allocating £42.6 million over two years to advance innovation in adult social care. This initiative is part of a broader 10-year vision to transform adult social care to be more person-centred, supportive of unpaid carers, and adaptive to increasing demands and diverse local needs. The ARF encourages collaborative partnerships across local areas to embed and sustain innovative practices.
- The ARF aims to eliminate barriers to innovative practices and enhance the capacity and skill set in adult social care.
- A total of 12 priorities for innovation and scaling have been identified, with a particular emphasis on community-based care models, greater control over care through digital tools, support networks for prevention and wellbeing, and support for unpaid carers.
- Local authorities are asked to form consortia within their Integrated Care System (ICS) geography and choose at least two projects for scaling, one of which must support unpaid carers.
- The funding model includes a fixed base and additional top-up funding determined by the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula (RNF).
- Consortia are required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be eligible for funding.
- The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides support with project selection, EOI development, and facilitates peer learning.
Benefits to Technology-Enabled Care Organisations:
- Opportunity to receive funding for innovative projects, particularly those leveraging technology to improve care services.
- Chance to enhance digital tools for self-directed care and workforce development.
- A structured platform for sharing best practices and learning from peers nationwide.
- Support for projects focusing on the integration of technology in supporting unpaid carers.
Next Steps for Local Authorities:
- Form consortia within integrated care system (ICS) geographies.
- Choose a lead local authority to receive and distribute the ARF grant.
- Develop partnerships with NHS, care providers, and community groups for project development and delivery.
- Select at least two projects to scale using ARF funding, with one focusing on unpaid carers.
- Consider the needs of diverse local populations and involve them in co-production.
- Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form detailing project plans and governance by 12 January 2024.
- Confirm final funding allocations by 9 February 2024 and sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by 16 February 2024.
- Collaborate with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) for support in various stages of project planning and implementation.
- Engage in peer learning and sharing through SCIE’s roundtables.
- Undertake mid and end grant reporting, including a post-grant sustainability plan, and submit by 21 April 2025.
- Work with the national evaluation partner for assessing the project’s impact.
Next Steps for the Technology-Enabled Care Sector:
- Engage with local authority consortia to participate in the development and delivery of innovative care projects.
- Contribute to projects that promote person-centred care, support unpaid carers, and leverage digital tools.
- Align with one of the 12 innovation priorities outlined by the ARF, especially those related to digital tools and community support.
- Provide expertise and support in the adoption and scaling of technology-enabled care innovations.
- Participate in SCIE roundtables and webinars for collaborative learning and sharing best practices.
- Be prepared to support consortia with data, information, and insights to enable effective monitoring and evaluation of projects.
- Contribute to the sustainability plans ensuring the continuation and scaling of successful innovations post-grant.
- Stay informed about the timelines and process for the ARF to align with local authority efforts and deadlines.
Everon is keen to partner with consortiums in supporting innovation in adult social care. Our long-standing expertise creates sustainable, technology-driven solutions that support independence and well-being.
It is expedient that both local authorities and the technology-enabled care sector collaborate effectively to maximise the impact of the ARF in innovating and scaling adult social care services.