The London Borough of Newham has spent £400,000 on case management software to help join up its disparate children’s services databases.
The ChildView software from supplier CACI will span education, intervention and prevention services and bring together different electronic recording systems used by school admissions and early intervention teams, into a single system.
The central database will have multi-agency access and replace the department’s six existing databases, all of which currently operate in isolation.
Brian Taylor, project manager at Newham, said the London Borough needed a more effective system to gain a single view of a child, as it is one of the poorest in London, with a large transient population of people under the age of 25.
He said the council expects to save up to £60,000 per year saving on licence fees, with further savings expected through support and maintenance. “But the real saving will be staff time,” he said.
“The software is focused around prevention rather than cure. We are looking at ways to work with other agencies such as having a triage system, and multi-agency hub.
“The system aims to take a multi-view approach by matching children across the system.”
More than two years ago the council had around 12 different databases in place, which were consolidated to around six but each on still had its own licence and hardware cost. The number of databases is now being consolidated again down to three, with the ChildView software connects the disparate remaining databases.
“Within ChildView we have set up a toolkit case management and workflow to meet our objective. This will take around a year to install and one year after that until we see the benefits.”
The council has around 300 staff who will be affected by the change, but some of which work in groups of just ten people – all of whom will need separate training. “Some of those services are coming off spread sheets and paper files, that’s a big cultural change and some staff are not used to using computers and will suddenly have to,” he said.
The data migration part of the programme will be done in-house, as Taylor said it will be cheaper and more cost effective than using third-parties to do it on the council’s behalf. “It gives us more security and control."