Simple systems for fast pay-off in child protection

Complex case management systems are proving a cumbersome way to improve the sharing of information on vulnerable children, a...

Complex case management systems are proving a cumbersome way to improve the sharing of information on vulnerable children, a report sponsored by the Department for Education and Skills has warned.

Councils are to be required to build systems for identification, referral and tracking of vulnerable young people in response to the Children Bill and the Laming inquiry into the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie.

The inquiry found that a failure to share information between professionals working in healthcare, social care and education was a factor in the child's death.

The education and skills department paid £1m each for 10 pilot schemes by local authorities to develop and test new ways of sharing information and working with multiple agencies. These trailblazer sites are working closely with the national team to refine the longer-term policy for information sharing.

A study of their progress, by the University of London, found that systems which flagged a child's interaction with agencies have been introduced more successfully than complex case management systems.

"Developing and introducing, complex IT systems has caused delays to some of the pilots due to issues of procurement, establishing policies and protocols, building complex consent rules, resources, training, and lack of guidance on data sharing," the report said.

"Simple indexes may offer a more effective starting point for improving information sharing about children. Further guidance from central government should be given once the information sharing and assessment pilots have been assessed."

The report also said that targeted training should support practitioners using new systems and leadership should be robust continuous and determined to make sure changes in working practices are taken seriously.

Government measures, click here >>

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