Elements in a Place-based Service Directory

In a recent article published by CLGdotTV the local public services channel highlights the issues have plagued online directories since the introduction of the Care Act in 2014. The articles goes on to state that with the adoption of the Place based DOS Model by local Clinical Commissioning Groups and Primary Care Networks these inherent problems are starting to be addressed, with the application of the right suite of technology and local integrated approach across the prevention sector including collaboration between health, care and voluntary sectors. The following video tells the story of an approach that could be adopted in any geographical footprint. Funded by Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership and supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and BURNLEY, PENDLE & ROSSENDALE COUNCIL FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE, this pilot project addresses many of the reasons local service directories haven't worked in the past.


We want to share and elaborate further on some of the key elements that need to be in place to address the core issues/problems.

Problems for a silo-based Directories

Efficiency – confusion and duplication of effort is created without the public and third sector working together on service directories.
Accuracy – the biggest failure of service directories is ensuring they are kept up to date.
Accountability – no organisation trusts another to provide the data and so they collect it themselves

Driver needed

Place-based working is difficult as everyone has slightly different needs and any compromise can be greeted with a move to silo working. It needs driving as a known place-based project. Without this then there is very little chance of success. With it then be prepared to drive things as it will be needed.
There needs to be a reason to do this that everyone can buy into. We would always suggest Social Prescribing as it is current and people are starting to realise that they need an aggregated directory. However we would not let Social Prescribing software dictate things as a place-based approach is required. Social prescribing is simply one frontend need. We should be collecting it once and making it available to lots of frontline workers.


There will be standards etc required in order to interoperate across the place. Having a governance in place is a pre-requisite to success. Different champions from the majority of public sectors and third sector are needed to create the necessary momentum to have a chance of getting to the critical mass which will then bring others on board. There is no point implementing this as just a council or CCG as the benefits are in working with partners across the place.


There is a need to work with existing service directories either to transform or support their compliance to a well-defined application profile of OR (UK one a bit flimsy at present so we are working on our own)
One approach could be to provide a catch-all system which over time could become the main collector simply because this is a non-added value service and tax-payers money is being wasted with the purchase of different application and duplication of effort. The catch-all system would need to allow other applications to make use of its functionality to avoid people having to login to more than one application. However initially and perhaps medium term this is going to be a case of aggregating the collection of service data from various organisation’s applications.


The consumers of the information need to be able to trust it and so assurance is a requirement. A simple MOU/SLA will suffice and the email address of the assurer in each service record
There may be an initial need for resources but longer term aim should be to get service providers doing this and being accountable for it being accurate


As previously mentioned, it is likely you will need an aggregation product to bring all the collection efforts together. This should also deal with duplication. We are just delivering this for Lancs.
There are a set of APIs defined by the open referral UK community but this is not yet comprehensive.

Consume and Present

The frontend is key to realising the benefits and we believe the majority of contexts around health, wellbeing and welfare will benefit. We are including assets, IAG, physical activity as well as (social) services in our thinking.  
Best place to start is the ones who are currently collecting as it is likely they have a front-end. They will make a decision as to whether they wish to continue to collect data or are happy to simply consume and present it. Worth also considering a social prescribing tool as they will need this data
We have a general finder tool that can be given to all frontline workers and have co-developed that with Lancs.
We expect self-care to be a big player building on this and have development work started in the background.