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Gloucestershire Council launches social care data sharing system

Lindsay Clark
Gloucestershire County Council has launched a pilot project to allow information sharing across social care agencies and health organisations.

The project was launched after extensive user consultation and aims to deliver a system to meet government requirements for councils to share social care information across health, social services and education by October 2005.

The target, set out in the Children Bill, followed the public inquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbie, which highlighted a breakdown in communication between care agencies.

Gloucestershire Council used funds for social services IT and e-government payments from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and expects to deliver the electronic care records system (ECRS), ahead of the deadline.

Before buying systems the project team ensured the goodwill of disparate groups of users in a range of services. "The most challenging part of the project was winning the hearts and minds of people who were not 100% convinced you should be moving to electronic systems and removing paper records," said Alan Miles, ECRS programme manager for the council.

The project team promoted the project through a roadshow. The team explained how the system would fulfil Whitehall objectives for joined-up working, information sharing and e-government.

The system will store 600,000 care plans within its first six months, but will be expanded to host millions of pages of records from different services. It will be built using an electronic document and records management system from Valid Information Systems.

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