Falkirk Council has won a top award for its technology-enabled care service which has helped thousands of vulnerable people live independently at home during the pandemic.

The local authority’s Analogue to Digital Telecare project was formally recognised at The Herald Digital Transformation Awards 2021.  

At last week’s virtual ceremony, the council’s entry ‘Going digital to save lives!’ scooped the Digital Communities prize.

Telecare is a remote care and support service for elderly or disabled people which provides users with personal and home alarms that alert a control centre when they are in difficulty so help can be sent.

By 2025, analogue telephone services will be switched off as the UK’s telecoms infrastructure is upgraded to digital connectivity.

Earlier this year, Falkirk Council became the first local authority in Scotland to go live with an end-to-end digital telecare service – four years ahead of the national deadline.

The project – which secured the Gold Level 1 Digital Telecare Implementation Award from the ‘digital telecare for Scottish local government programme’ in March – has also safeguarded the council’s Mobile Emergency Care Service (MECS).

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “All those involved in the project have worked tirelessly to make it happen – from the project team itself, to those working in MECS, partner organisations and service users.

“It really has been a team effort and shows what can be achieved when we work together to create positive change. Congratulations to you all. A well-deserved win.” 

Falkirk was one of six shortlisted in the category which aimed to reward “an individual, group or organisation who has used technology to help their local community”.  

The judges unanimously agreed that the council’s entry was the “standout winner”, stating they were “very impressed by the work and effort put in by Falkirk Council to ensure the safety of its most vulnerable”.  

They recognised that the project had never been done before in Scotland and that working alongside Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, the council had been agile, putting in place new infrastructure and overcoming barriers created by outdated technology. 

Analogue to Digital Telecare is just one of 30 ‘Council of the Future’ projects that aim to transform and modernise services and help the local authority to deliver on its priorities – communities, enterprise, and innovation.