UK Authority's Local Digital Launches Eligibility Checker API

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Local Digital’s Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator and Eligibility Checker API was met with great interest at a recent event to launch the product.

The API is a resource to help local authorities meet standards required by the recently implemented Care Act. The sold-out event was attended mostly by members of the adult social care community from both the public and private sectors. When asked if they would be interested in using the API, a strikingly large majority of the 55-strong audience raised their hands.

Following a demonstration of the API by our design partner IEG4, guests were asked to provide their feedback by breaking into discussion groups. Topics ranged from possibilities for future enhancements to how best to collect data on user satisfaction with the tool.

There was lively debate on the issue of gathering feedback from actual users, but there was broad agreement that any text used to frame the calculator should be written in plain, clear English, for the sake of accessibility. Delegates also identified the following questions as some of the most important to answer:

  • Who is using this calculator eg care patient, family member, social worker?
  • How did they arrive at this page eg via search engine, link on local council website?
  • How long did they spend using the tool?
  • Where did they stop/leave the page?
  • Did they get the information they were looking for?

The API is available for anyone to use to construct their own online DPA calculators but as an initial demonstration of its value, IEG4 has developed web forms to be trialled on the websites of our eight partner local authorities. Delegates expressed hope that councils or businesses that have success with the API would readily share their customisation tips with others, especially in the early days.
The discussions then moved on to potential future developments and collaboration. Many felt the API, as it stands now, could be expanded to do the following:

  • export data from the calculator tool to an electronic application from, if the user is eligible and decides to apply
  • become an app for social workers to use on tablet PCs while in the field 

or potentially linked to existing databases, eTools and other APIs, such as: 

  • Online needs/benefits/financial assessment forms
  • Care cost cap calculators
  • Care provider directories
  • Social care eMarketplace
  • The Land Registry, to help assess eligibility for a DPA

We have listened to these suggestions with great interest, and following this event, Local Digital will now begin exploring options to improve and expand upon this project. We look forward to seeing what develops over the coming weeks and months as the API becomes more widely adopted.

If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to know more, slides and videos from the event will be available shortly on the Local Digital website. Once the API is ready to be shared publicly, a link to developer information will also be posted on our website.

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