DCSF pledges ‘immediate action’ on ICS

The government is taking immediate action to improve the Integrated Children’s System (ICS) in response to concerns raised by the Social Work Task Force and Lord Laming.

The DCSF’s action plan said it would “free up” national requirements for using the system, allowing local authorities and suppliers “more flexibility to use their professional judgement.”  

It also pledged to relax the deadline on the planned set of updates for the ICS to allow authorities to fix current problems, and improve support for councils by carrying out a “usability” review for each ICS product.

Further reforms promised

The action plan also confirmed that further reforms to the ICS would be set out by the government following the Social Work Task Force’s final report in October.

In a short interim report today, the Task Force said it had made investigating concerns about the ICS “a priority” after many social workers reported poor IT support and inadequate hardware.

“We have heard concerns in many areas that compliance with the Integrated Children’s System makes record keeping a burdensome process and drives a model of practice which can be at odds with professional judgement,” the report submitted to children’s secretary Ed Balls today said.

Task Force recommendations

The Task Force called for a “true picture” of the effect of the system in different areas. “It is critical that our recommendations to government about changes build on those aspects of the system which have value, and do not create more disruption or bureaucracy,” its report said.

Laming’s report on safeguarding also called on the DCSF to “improve the utility” of the ICS and roll out a single national version or alternatively ensure “stronger leadership” at a local level.

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