Get Connected: Frequently asked questions
How do I raise queries about Get Connected?Open
We have answered queries in the FAQ section, so please read these first.
For any new queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that your questions can be fully answered and you have a record of them.
What is the Get Connected Investment Project? Open
The Get Connected Investment Project is a capital grant scheme for the registered providers of adult social care in England and independent sector organisations supporting personalisation in adult social care. It will enable you to improve access for your users, carers, visitors and staff to information and communications technology (ICT) so they can use the power of the internet to communicate, learn and train.
Why was the Investment Project established?Open
The Department of Health has established a capital fund to enable registered care providers and independent sector organisations supporting personalisation in adult social care to access digital technology more effectively.
ICT, and the internet in particular, are transforming the way we communicate, learn and work. There are thousands of independent sector social care services for adults in England. Many of them are small, private or voluntary sector organisations that do not have access to high-quality internet or digital technology. This means their users and staff are at a disadvantage in terms of access to training and development, knowledge gathering and full participation in the support networks available online.
How will it help to improve the quality of people’s lives?Open
ICT can be used in many ways, for example to:
- enable people who use your services to keep in touch with their communities (e.g. supporting residents of care homes to surf the internet, send e-mails).
- improve the skills and knowledge of your staff (e.g. by giving them access to online resources such as SCIE’s e-learning materials or Social Care TV).
- keep your team up to date with the latest developments in policy and practice (e.g. checking the Department of Health’s website, the latest guidance from CQC or good practice examples from the Dementia Gateway).
These improvements can, in turn, lead to an improvement in the quality of care provided and the experience of people using your services.
Get Connected is being evaluated by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). They are looking at the difference that the funded projects have made to the experience of users of service and staff.
How much is available in investment support?Open
£12 million will be distributed in total over the duration of the Investment Project, in four funding cycles. Each individual investment will be up to a maximum value of £20,000.
What sort of things will you fund?Open
The kinds of problems we would like to fund solutions for include:
- Saleem was using the internet to keep in touch with her family before she decided to move to a nursing home because of her increasing frailty and medical needs. The home has one computer kept in a locked office, which people living in the home cannot use. Saleem is very distressed at being cut off from her usual contacts and remains mentally quite capable of using the internet if she only had access to it.
- Jacob runs a home care agency which is providing domiciliary care workers for an increasing number of people, so he needs to take on more staff. He wants to make sure that the quality of his care staff is high, and that they are up to date. He does have computer access but only uses his one machine to do administration. His staff could keep up to date and do some training online if he could find a way of expanding access to his ICT.
- Amika has a learning disability and attends a day centre where she is being helped to learn about becoming a volunteer. She wants to put together an e-portfolio which she can send to organisations to show them what she can offer.
Who is running the scheme?Open
The Get Connected programme is managed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) with funding from the Department of Health.
We have established an external advisory group of key stakeholders to oversee the Get Connected Investment Project. It is responsible for overseeing the arrangements for the project, monitoring the applications for investment support and making recommendations on those to be funded.
Members of the external advisory group:
- Sheila Scott, Chief Executive of the National Care Association (chair)
- John Adams, General Secretary of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group
- Dr David Clayden, former Strategic Information Director for the Salvation Army and non-executive director of the Society for Information Technology Management
- Gaynor Humphreys, Director of London Funders
- Ann Macfarlane, Disability Rights and Equalities Consultant, SCIE Board member
- Ronald Morton, Strategy Development and Innovation Manager for the Care Quality Commission
- Stephen Sloss, Strategic Director of Adult Social Care & Health for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
- John Wallace, Training Consultant for Learn to Care
- Susan Easton, Senior Officer NIACE
We have also commissioned as partners in delivering the investment project the Charity Technology Trust and Lasa. They have considerable experience in identifying and supporting the introduction and good use of ICT in charities and with business, and in providing funding and other forms of support to organisations.
Charity Technology Trust is primarily responsible for the investment application process. Lasa is primarily responsible for the accreditation and directory of businesses able to offer ICT advice and support to organisations wishing to think about an ICT solution and make a bid with SCIE and the external advisory group, the partners share the responsibility for ensuring that the bids for investment support are technically competent, fairly priced, and meet the criteria for eligibility for the project.
NIACE (the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education and IES (the Institute for Employment Studies) are the research partners for the project.
Does Get Connected have links with any ICT suppliers of hardware or software? Open
No. Get Connected is completely independent of any supplier, and does not recommend or support any particular ICT product or solution.
Why might my Expression of Interest or Application not have succeeded?Open
1. There were insufficient funds in the Cycle you applied for to meet all the eligible requests for funding. The funding for Get Connected is capped and there is a very heavy demand for funds.
2. You are a statutory organisation, nursing agency or adult placement scheme and therefore are not eligible for funding through this project in any Funding Cycle.
3. Your organisation is registered outside England. Get Connected will support registered providers of adult care services in England only. This means that registered providers who wish to apply need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission, Companies House, Charity Commission or Financial Services Authority. Organisations that support personalisation in adult social care more widely, and who are eligible to apply from Cycle 2 will also need to be working and registered in England and be registered with the Charity Commission and/or be a registered company with Companies House, Charity Commission or Financial Services Authority. Eligibility will be checked, as will any implications on the public record for financial or organisational viability as part of the assessment process.
4. Your application contained organisational, management or administrative equipment or software. All investment bids will need to show how people who use services, family carers and/or staff will benefit from improved access to information and communication technology (ICT). The funding is for capital expenditure that will support adult social care providers and organisations to extend personalisation through enhanced access to ICT. All bids must cover one or both of these objectives:
improving access by people who use services, carers and staff to ICT to enhance the quality of life offered within the service
Improving access by people who use services, carers or staff to ICT that will support their learning, training and development.
5. Your application contained assistive technology (“any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled or older people" DH 2008). Other funding has previously been made available for assistive technologies.
6. Your application contained the development of websites or promotional material. All investment bids will need to show how people who use services, family carers and/or staff will benefit from improved access to information and communication technology (ICT).
7. Your application contained a technical solution to cover ICT development in premises which are not used or under the reasonable control of your organisation. Domestic premises are not eligible.
8. Your Expression of Interest form or Application form contained discrepancies in mandatory fields such as CQC service registration number, company registration number or registered charity number. Due to the high number applications we are not able to correct any discrepancy ourselves. The main difficulty was that the person filling in the form – on paper or online - did not appear to follow the detailed guidance that is available and completed it incorrectly or missed out answers to questions that were essential for us to establish eligibility.
Examples of discrepancies could include:
- Individual or organisation names rather than registered names being used, or care provider names that do not match the CQC registration data.
- Missing or wrong registration numbers (an important identifier for Get Connected in establishing eligibility).
- Data about parent organisations that does not match CQC service registration data, Charity Commission or Companies House records; or was missing when a parent organisation appeared to be in existence.
- Statements of what the organisation wished to do with a grant that does not match the purposes of the Get Connected.
9. Your organisation is either:
- a branch of a voluntary organisation and four grants have already been awarded to other branches within that voluntary organisation.
- a private or voluntary domiciliary care agency which is a branch of a bigger agency, and four grants have already been awarded to other branches within that agency.
- a private adult social care service which is owned or managed by a parent private company, and four grants have already been awarded to other companies within the parent company group.
10. Your Expression of Interest form or Application form was submitted on your behalf by an agent or external company.
Get Connected can only accept Expressions of Interest forms or Application forms from registered care providers themselves. We cannot accept them from any agent (including ICT companies) purporting to be made on behalf of a care provider. We have to be sure that the care provider has full knowledge of everything said on the form and has agreed to it. We also want to be sure that care providers have had access to good independent advice about the right ICT solutions for them with all the options that would be suitable for software and hardware. Get Connected has not approved any agents to act on behalf of the Programme and will not do so.
11. You began ICT work before an Expression of Interest or Application was submitted or approval was given.
I have been awarded a grant. What do I do nowOpen
You should spend your funding within four months of receiving it to deliver your project. You do not necessarily need to buy the services of the organisations that gave you the quotations you supplied with your Application, although they should be familiar with your project and able to deliver it as you had agreed. You do need to install a solution that matches or is very close to the one that Get Connected agreed to fund. You will be asked to provide receipts for your purchases, and these will be checked against your application. You should spend all your funding on your project, so if you are able to get some items more cheaply than in your quotation you should use the balance of funding to enhance the project in ways that keep it within the Get Connected objectives.
Can I use my grant for things that were not in my application? Open
In general no. If you think that you may have a better ICT solution, or the solution you had identified cannot be provided in practice, then you should e-mail Get Connected with the details before spending any of the grant, and seek approval. This will not be given for changes which are not within the Get Connected objectives or for equipment or ICT services which were excluded from your Application or do not represent reasonable value for public funds. We are sure it will not be necessary, but if funds are spent for purposes other than those approved by Get Connected, we will seek to recover them.
How will you know how my project is going? Open
We are really interested in the difference that Get Connected will make to access to ICT for users and staff in adult social care. So we will be doing a number of things to see how projects are progressing, whilst respecting the privacy of your service users:
- We will ask you for receipts for your expenditure
- We will undertake some audit visits to see how the project is progressing
- We will be undertaking research through our partners NIACE and EIS and we may ask for your project to be included
- Interested people from government, the Advisory Group or the partner agencies may ask to visit your project to identify good practice in the use of ICT
- Lists of organisations that have received funding (not the amount) are on the SCIE website. CQC, care service purchasers and your local community are sure to be interested in your progress.