A simple integrated children’s system (ICS) is being developed that eliminates the need for “cutting and pasting”, Community Care has learned.
Private consultancy group Tribal is working on this new approach to computerised record-keeping for child protection which, the company says, would tie in with local authority reforms based on Eileen Munro’s review.
Steve Liddicott, former chair of the national ICS expert panel and professional liaison on the project, said the system would take record-keeping back to basics, with the emphasis on simplicity.
Every household unit has a file and every child in that unit has an individual file. Practitioners can view data about the unit as a whole, data about just one of the children, or data about a selected number of the children.
Eradicating repetitious data entry for practitioners has been a main focus for developers, who have ensured every entry made into one type of file – individual or household – is automatically transferred to the other type of file.
“The development group has been having regular meetings with frontline practitioners and their managers, which goes along with Munro’s principle that things like this should be practitioner-led,” said Liddicott.
“We’ve asked them what they do with their systems, how they do it, and what do they think is the most helpful way of recording this data.”
Local authorities will also have the option of linking the system, called the child social care recording system, with social workers’ emails and calendars. This allows any email sent or received about a household or child to be put automatically into the relevant data file and appointments in the social worker’s calendar would become part of the case chronology.
The new system would require little training, Liddicott said, because it has been modelled on the Microsoft Word and Outlook programmes, which are familiar to most practitioners.
Since January, Tribal has been developing the system with two local authorities, which cannot be named. A prototype will be complete by the end of June with the final system ready to be implemented by the end of the year.
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