The British Association of Social Workers has branded the implementation of the computerised integrated children’s system (ICS), which records details of children receiving social care, a “systematic failure”.
In a document viewed by Community Care, the association highlighted its chief concerns about ICS, including its view that improvement guidance issued in October by the Department for Children, Schools and Families was “an incomplete exercise”.
BASW said: “It [the guidance] has not been tried and tested by local authorities, which means that there is no evidence base in terms of its effectiveness.”
Steve Liddicott, chair of the Improvement Expert Panel on the ICS, has told Community Care that a further set of improvement tools was on its way to local authorities, but BASW said no time-frame had been set.
BASW also claimed there was too much information duplication in ICS exemplars, leading to practitioners wasting time. It used the example of social workers having to enter information individually for each child in a sibling group, as information cloning is not an option.
BASW found fault, too, with the planning and review record, saying it did not allow workers to change the initial plan for a child at subsequent reviews. Its document pointed out that, for instance, an initial plan for an unborn baby could not be altered after the birth.
BASW said exemplars were not user-friendly and that service users had told social workers the documents were difficult to understand and did not make issues clear. The association said this did not help social workers to work in partnership with service users.