Note to Non Techies in Social Care:
Please read this post - if you think that you cannot make a contribution to an open source project you are wrong!
We have taken the decision that the time has come to open-source BetterCareGuide.org, which we have delayed for ages because, frankly, the code isn’t anything like as good as we would like (since it was the first app I wrote after a break of several years from programming, using a stack that was all new to me). But I have heard from many people that the code quality of a new open source product isn’t the important thing - a road map, a vision and a simple working product are. So I am taking the covers off the codebase in the hope that people will contribute and improve the code quality of BetterCareGuide while I concentrate on the easy stuff.
To provide a simple web site where the public can go to get information about UK care providers (though it should be equally applicable elsewhere) and the quality of care they deliver. The information and its presentation should be independent of any financial involvement with the providers. Small independent providers should not be discriminated against. The licencing prohibits the software from being operated by a for-profit organisation.
Road Map (bold items need significant input from non techies)
The pipe dream road map extends considerably further than this, but I will stop there for a while and see if anyone contributes with this bit.
So I have three requests:
We believe - passionately - in transparency, fairness and services that are of value to the community. We are trying to disrupt the Good Care Guide because we believe its model fails in the first two of these aims and the fact that there are several similar sites (and will be more) is a failing in trying to achieve the last objective. We are in a position where we can use new cloud services (which in low volumes are free to use) to be disruptive in an attempt to bring about our aims.
I don’t think anyone sensible these days would question the first two objectives, but I have heard that Shaun Gallagher, Director of Social Care Policy at DH, fears that having one site will stifle innovation, and that progress comes from competition.
His view is not uncommon - indeed it is widely held - but that doesn’t necessarily make it right, and I think he should consider the following:
We would welcome your comments on this.
The Good Care Guide, as many care providers know, costs £72 per year for a subscription. The two major benefits of subscription are that:
In order to subscribe you need agree to their draconian terms and conditions, which exclude:
“all and any losses, liabilities, claims, damages, expenses or costs (whether arising as a consequence of negligence or otherwise) arising in connection with…the inaccuracy, incompleteness or tardiness of any information supplied through the service”
We don’t think that this is fair on providers (particularly smaller providers) so we are launching a service that will let you know when someone comments on your business on the Good Care Guide site.
Our new version of BetterCareGuide.org launched today will send registered providers an email soon after a review of their business is posted on the Good Care Guide (as long as it remains possible - for obvious reasons we cannot offer any service level agreements) for FREE!*
If you are already subscribed to BetterCareGuide and set up to receive notifications of reviews then you don’t need to do anything (apart from tell other providers about this!). If you are a provider and want to know how to subscribe to the site then visit the guide for providers page.
If you are interested in why we are doing this please read this blog post.
* at least for the time being - we may need to introduce some charging at some point if the traffic increases too much and we don’t make enough from our pledgie, but if you sign up before that point the service will remain free
I had the idea for this blog post a few months ago, but (typically) didn't put pen to paper - or whatever the modern equivalent is. In the last couple of weeks I have been prodded twice - once by an excellent blog post entitled What makes residential care good? and today when I heard that one of the proposed "official" quality indicators for both residential and domiciliary care is a measurement of staff turnover.
My thinking is that staff turnover is a key indicator in all businesses, and that it would be beneficial to many groups if staff turnover figures were to be made public on every corporate website (at /staff-turnover.html perhaps). So far as I can see this would be in the interests of the business themselves, their customers and potential customers, their staff and their potential staff and even recruitment consultants (who would doubtless try and place people where the turnover was highest to maximise their profits). My proposed metric, which would be reported every quarter, would be "what percentage of the workforce of 3 months ago is still employed by you?".
As I say I have been thinking about it for quite a while and have discussed it with several people and so far nobody has come up with a reason not to do this. So I have taken a first step. Let's see if it will catch on....
Adult social care technology expert, open source advocate, cyclist, parent, volunteer teacher, former (very easy) world record holder and reluctant blogger.