Merseyside based studio Design Integrity has completed works on a project with charity Shared Lives Plus to revolutionise local councils’ Shared Lives schemes’ carer recruitment process through a new digital platform.

The online tool, which moves the recruitment and robust assessment process for Shared Lives carers away from paperwork-based methods to a mix of online and face-to-face interactions comes at a critical time as the government recently announced a new health and social care tax across the UK.

Design Integrity, which has worked with Shared Lives Plus since 2018 to deliver a new public facing brand identity and online strategy, believes that the platform has the potential to modernise the social care sector with a more interactive and agile approach to carer recruitment without losing its interpersonal qualities. This will come as a benefit to councils as they continue to recruit more Shared Lives carers on a daily basis, all while providing more access to an increasing of number potential carers online.

Founder and Creative Director at Design Integrity Stephen Murray said: “Successfully executing this digital initiative during lockdown has been a brilliantly rewarding piece of work for our studio and I’m incredibly proud of the team. The nature of this ground-breaking project falls perfectly in line with our value-centric positioning and very much marks the direction of our exciting future as a business.

“The social care sector is just one of many industries adapting to new ways of doing business with hybrid and remote working now being considered on a more permanent basis. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital processes in the workplace and a tool such as this can be adapted to a multitude of purposes that improve productivity and quality of relationships in a modern world driven by technology.”

Former Minister of State for Social Care Helen Whately added: “I’m delighted that Shared Lives Plus, under the extraordinary pressure of the pandemic with the support of government’s Covid Emergency Fund, has ambitiously transformed the way local authority and independent Shared Lives schemes recruit and assess potential carers, supported by online technology to provide innovative Shared Lives support in their own home. Shared Lives services, funded by our Covid Emergency Fund, have exceeded their ambitious recruitment targets.

“A huge thank you to everyone involved and for all you do. I’m delighted to welcome 200 new Shared Lives carers over the last six months into the social care workforce, with over 100 people moving in with their new Shared Lives carer and benefiting from the safest and best quality form of social care available. The opportunity now that I really want to support is to scale it up so that even more people can be part of Shared Lives households.”

As part of the project, Design Integrity provided an accessible user experience and branded interface to make the Shared Lives carer application process an attractive digital proposition, while retaining the personal aspect of the assessment. What traditionally was achieved through office-based provisions now places greater emphasis on face-to-face meetings, supported by online calls with a simplified digital means of working.

Director of Development at Shared Lives Plus Jayne Wilson said: “By creating an online recruitment portal and assessment process we have adapted a lengthy six-month application process to around six weeks, while still maintaining the high-quality standards Shared Lives services are recognised for.”

Project Manager at Shared Lives South West Laura Clements said: “To be able to move people’s mindsets on how assessments can be accomplished has been a really positive thing for us. In 2021 it’s nice to see something that’s new and refreshing, reflective of modern society, now in place – it’s been a real positive change for the sector.”

Moving forward, Design Integrity will work with Shared Lives Plus to provide them with phase two of the project, which will involve a learning platform for existing and new carers to develop professionally within their roles.