New system for children’s services to be piloted

Councils with social services responsibilities are being invited
by the department for education and skills to bid to become pilots
for the integrated children’s system, a new integrated framework
for working with children and families, writes Sally
Gillen and Mike Simons.

Three councils will be selected to run ICS, which will be used
to develop systems and training for practitioners in particular
organisations and across agencies, for two years.

The pilots will be used to determine whether ICS is suitable for
children of all agencies and abilities at each stage of the
process, and whether it strengthens social work practice and
processes, facilitates information sharing and supports
multi-agency work.

Implementation of ICS will be part of the introduction of
‘e-social care records’ in 2005. Its development also supports
wider government initiatives such as the identification, referral
and tracking system, which is central to the forthcoming children’s
green paper, and is intended to facilitate information sharing
across children’s services.

But Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Simon Hughes has
warned that the new tracking systems could be undermined because of
their reliance on unproven IT.

Hughes told ‘Community Care’s’ sister magazine ‘Computer Weekly’
that the government was “taking a big risk by pinning so much on
the success of these projects”.

“The people responsible for day-to-day child protection need
effective case management systems. But to rely on a combination of
expensive IT, some of which is still on the drawing board, is to
multiply the risks both to children and the exchequer,” Hughes

The closing date for pilot applications is 20 August. Contact

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