ICT for social welfare

Book Cover - ICT for Social WelfareBy Luke Geoghegan, Jason Lever and Ian McGimpsey.
ISBN 1861345054

Star rating: 3/5

Good information technology promotes good social care outcomes, writes Anthony Douglas. Occupational therapists can use digital cameras to specify how and where minor adaptations to homes should be carried out. Social care assessors can use Tablet technology to record, agree and upload assessments in service users’ homes. And an inclusive digital culture can put sessional staff onto an agency intranet so they receive all internal notices.

This Cook’s Tour of digital applications surveys a rapidly changing field, and showcases some innovative service developments. The Gershon review of the public sector has put back-room savings at the top of budget-setting agendas, but there is little here about how to make substantial savings – simple in theory but Herculean in practice. Similarly, the digital solutions put forward have a limited shelf-life before other technological changes make them obsolete. More emphasis on how to develop a stable digital infrastructure would have been helpful.

The authors write lucidly about the social context for modern IT. And there are good sections about the digital divide and how information intermediaries can bridge gaps to reduce a sense of exclusion from awesome techie nirvanas.

Anthony Douglas is chief executive of Cafcass.

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