Newcastle Council’s Children’s Services along with Gateshead Council were a Department for Education and Skills Trailblazer which recently developed a pilot local Index that was used along with the other national pilots to develop the national ContactPoint system.
Newcastle’s Common Assessment Framework Co-ordinator, Grainne Fegan, said: “If you have concerns about the child, with a few simple clicks on your mouse and 42 seconds later you have found the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all the other agencies and practitioners who are also working with this child. This is the key benefit of ContactPoint.
“We will link our new electronic CAF system into ContactPoint when it arrives in autumn 2008. This means that all our children’s CAF’s will be ‘flagged’ on Contact Point when it arrives.
“We are taking forward ContactPoint alongside all the other integrated working tools and developing a large training team to help us introduce the new tools to the estimated 4,000 ContactPoint users in Newcastle.”
Newcastle’s Information Sharing Coordinator John Brown added: “It is important to see this as a change in the way the whole system works rather than just introducing a new IT system.
“ContactPoint and eCAF are excellent systems – but there is a risk of there being IT ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ and the ‘have-not’ agencies might struggle to be part of the new information network.
“The provision of web-enabled IT equipment is essential and needs to be added to the on-costs of every new children’s services post alongside superannuation and other on-costs.”