North Yorkshire County Council is implementing an electronic planning and case management system to cut the time...
social workers spend on paperwork.
The Integrated Children's System is designed to improve efficiency in the social services department and enable the council to fulfil government requirements under the Every Child Matters programme.
The Liquidlogic system allows social workers to enter details on cases electronically, instead of writing everything out by hand, as they have done in the past.
In addition, saving information on each child or family on a single file makes it easier to review cases when they are updated.
Fran Senior, project manager for the Integrated Children's System, said it would reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork and force social workers into good practice.
"As practitioners get used to the system, they might think it is slower. But it forces them into good practice, and in the long term it will save them an awful lot of time. Because of this it will eventually improve outcomes for children," she said.
Senior said the system allowed details to be copied between files so, for example, a case would not have to be written out three times for three siblings.
Managers will also have access to real-time information about the progress and performance of the department and individual staff.
Senior said, "All local authorities have to provide reports on their performance. At the moment, performance levels are calculated after the event. Now managers can measure this in real time and see exactly what is going on as it happens.
"It also means they can supervise staff more easily, see if they are struggling with something or not making deadlines. It will definitely improve quality."
The system should also improve communication across the county, helping to ensure a consistent approach to good practice.
It also has the ability to be linked to other agencies and other councils in the future, Senior said.