A man in a chair with a woman behind him

Microsoft is helping Leonard Cheshire’s social care staff spend more time with the people they support

One of the most impactful charities in the world for people with disabilities is rolling out Microsoft technology to help staff deliver even better care and support.

As well as offering care and accommodation, Leonard Cheshire also delivers education, skills and confidence programmes, employment support and advice to tens of thousands of individuals in the UK, Africa and Asia. More than 46,000 people around the world were reached through its vital work last year.

The charity is helping thousands of its staff use Microsoft technology such as Dynamics 365, Power BI and PowerApps to ensure they spend more time actively supporting the people they are there to serve and less time completing administration tasks such as paperwork.

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform that offers businesses a range of applications to help with tasks such as customer service, finance, marketing, sales and human resources. It’s being used across the world by companies such as Lego, Tesla, BMW and Centrica. Earlier this year, Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact team unveiled its latest version of Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator, a suite of tools designed to provide non-profits with the kind of insight necessary to achieve their goals.

Laura Crandley, Executive Director of Partnerships at Leonard Cheshire, said: “The majority of our staff work in social care, delivering support to people every day. We want our workforce to be able to have more time with people supporting them to do what they want to do. Staff rosters used to be manual, now it’s all moving to be in Dynamics 365.

“As part of our wider digital transformation, we are now using tablets to log things such as when they administer medication. We also have to do a lot of health and safety checks on equipment such as hoists. In a 30-bed care home, that’s a big task. Now, everything is tagged. Staff can swipe the tags and that’s logged into our system, so others can see if checks or services are overdue. Senior management can then see the history of those logs and investigate trends, if needed. Previously this was all done on paper, now it’s all digital.

“It’s creating a single source of truth for the nursing team supporting a person and the care home. They have a much more joined-up view of care.”

According to the latest Government figures, 13.3 million people in the UK reported a disability in 2017/18 – a ratio of around one-in-five – with 49% citing mobility issues. Most of those are of State Pension age. Four per cent of people were receiving some form of care, with 13% of those individuals aged 75-84, compared with just 2% of those below 16.

A man in a wheelchair throws a soft ball to a woman

Staff will spend more time supporting the people they are there to serve and less time completing administration tasks such as paperwork

As well as ensuring a consistent and high-quality level of care, Leonard Cheshire is using Dynamics 365 in a variety of ways.

The charity is removing multiple, complex systems across the charity and replacing them all with Dynamics 365, saving staff time because they don’t need to input the same information multiple times. It also makes its system more secure, which is crucial when dealing with personal and medical information.

Staff also use Power BI to visualise data and PowerApps to create personalised programs. Everything runs on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.

“We do everything from high levels of support for people with disabilities with 24/7 nursing support, to light-touch, supported living, where people might need just 10 hours of support a week,” Crandley said. “In the past, some of our staff hadn’t always felt digitally engaged but we are making our systems very accessible and showing people that using Dynamics 365 is just as easy as using their smartphone.”

Justin Spelhaug, General Manager at Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, added: “Our values of breaking down barriers and helping people with disabilities live their most fulfilled lives align with our focus on creating technology solutions that are purpose-built for non-profits. We want to help Leonard Cheshire be more efficient operationally and effective programmatically so that they can serve even more people living with disabilities.”