An Online Portal for Foster Carers at Kent County Council
The portal is intended for use by external agencies or internal foster carers, and it means that councils like Kent can:
- Swiftly issue accurate electronic invoices to external agencies
- Automatically publish the annual statements of foster carer payments
- Publish planned care to the portal for foster carers or agencies to view
- Accept one-off expenses submissions from carers online
- Electronically send carers their remittance advice
- Communicate with providers via the secure online portal
“Having OCC’s support during the implementation was invaluable. To have experts in the field working with you is incredibly useful. It certainly helped me expand my knowledge and manage the support for Portal users going forward.” Sarah Lock, Senior Systems Change & Development Officer
Currently, Kent County Council has 1,941 children looked after, which includes a relatively high proportion of young asylum seekers. Supporting these children, they have 671 in house foster carers, as well as an estimated 185 external providers. All these costs are managed through ContrOCC, and the Provider Portal was purchased as part of the original bid for a new case management and social care finance system in 2012.
Kent is now live with Provider Portal for both internal foster carers and external providers. They achieved this through a phased approach, starting with their in-house carers, followed by agencies, and then their disabled children’s services. The Portal is designed to allow communication between ContrOCC and providers, enabling sharing of information including care package line items, invoices, and the publication of remittances and annual cost statements. An important element of implementation is promoting the benefits of the Portal to providers and gaining their engagement.
Internal foster carers use the Portal to view their payments and annual statement on demand, which is more convenient for them and reduces costs for the council.
“External providers generate their invoices through the Portal and have remarked that payments are processed much quicker”.
Invoices go straight into ContrOCC and are available for review and authorisation immediately. Providers can also choose to submit invoices per child using the invoice creation wizard on the Portal, which prevents all their payments being held-up if there is a query with one child.
Providers are also utilising the Portal’s secure messaging functionality to communicate with Kent’s Total Placement Service directly. Messages can be associated directly with an invoice, which makes it clear for everyone when working on outstanding payment queries.