This project is under way, and will run until March 2022.

  • Led by Equal Care, in partnership with Open Data Services Co-operative (ODSC).
  • Aiming to demonstrate the value of quality, open data and show the impact that transparent and open tendering has on the quality of a social care service and the experience of people getting support.
  • Using themselves as the ‘guinea pig’, Equal Care will open their contracting and service performance data to a wide audience, exploring the impact on the quality of services, and on the outcome measures themselves.

People receiving care and support commissioned and procured by councils and the NHS cannot see what those service providers have committed to, nor can they participate in holding them to informed account.

It is not currently possible to compare relative success of contract models or providers across or within local authorities: outcomes remain buried in contract reviews and then lost once new contracts, providers or commissioners take over. The opacity and lack of interoperability of procurement content and outcomes is the biggest barrier to learning from and developing high-quality services.

This proof-of-concept project will bring good practice from the open source and open data communities into tendering and commissioning practices, with the aim of creating a shared digital infrastructure for open, accountable, transparent social care.

Equal Care and ODSC want to enable people who receive services, and the workers within them, to hold providers and commissioners to account; a precondition for this is for the contract commitments and performance of the service to be made open to scrutiny.

The first stage of the project will be four participatory design workshops, with people getting support, care and support workers, family members, commissioners and social workers.

The second stage will involve incorporating learnings into the Open Contracting Data Standard; mapping out a more transparent contracting and procurement route in social care. The aim is to produce a blueprint for cross-comparison between service providers and local authorities.

Stage three will involve analysing data to test the outcomes design against a live contract, plus capacity-building with a representative evaluation board. This will enable the assessment of the role of transparency in contract quality and service delivery.

A detailed understanding of the incentives and disincentives for sharing data on contracting and procurement (including legal and competitive considerations, which remain a major barrier) will help identify areas of common agreement and unexpected benefits.

Through the development of the shareable blueprint, this project has the potential for far-reaching impacts in evaluating what does and doesn’t work in social care provision.

This project is subject to contract.


For more information about this project, please contact Emma Back, Founder (Growth & Strategy Lead), Equal Care Co-op.

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