Electronic records set to save Leeds Council £1.5m

Leeds City Council expects savings of up to £1.5m over the next 10 years, thanks to its new Electronic Social Care Record system.

Leeds City Council expects savings of up to £1.5m over the next 10 years, thanks to its new Electronic Social Care Record system.

John England, senior assistant director of social services at the council, said the new system could revolutionise the working practices of social workers, some of whom spend up to 60% of their time dealing with admin.

"That saving will come from reducing paper and administrative processes," he said. "We will hopefully free up more time for social workers to devote to new activities.

"A project of this scale is not just about implementing technology, it is about changing the way we work in the department."

The system will handle the whole assessment process, including care referrals, enquiries, and storing information. The council will begin rolling out the initial phase, which involves support for all social services' business processes, in July, and completion is scheduled for September.

A second phase, which will focus on improving the system's financial functionality, is expected next year, followed by developments such as mobile working.

Developed in partnership with IT suppliers Siebel and ITNet, the electronic social care record uses customer relationship management technology to replace back-office systems, and is designed to link citizen information to other social care agencies, the NHS, police and the probation service.

Leeds social services department has worked closely with other organisations in the area, such as primary care trusts, to develop the data standards that will be used by the system.

Officals said it meets the standards for the E-Government Interoperability Framework, which defines technical specifications to allow electronic communication between public sector bodies and their suppliers.

England said the system will also be compatible with the health service's plans for electronic care records. "This is an XML standard, and all the connectivity standards for electronic patient records are built into the system," he said.

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