A Joined-Up View at Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire Council embarked upon a project to establish how professionals in children’s services felt about IT systems in use within the council. Feedback demonstrated that case data was spread across a number of systems, and workers were unable to share relevant information electronically. This led to frequent re-gathering and re-entering information and there was not always an easily accessible ‘joined up’ picture of the children and families whom they were supporting.
Speaking about this period of research, a spokesperson at Wiltshire Council says:
"Workers were clearly frustrated with the additional time spent gathering information on cases and how it hindered the co-ordination of services. At the time, the council counted a cohort of 1,100 children who used multiple services concurrently, from targeted educational support, special educational needs, through to early help and social care needs in the family. We wanted to avoid that cliché of one council member of staff going into someone’s home and meeting another going out. We realised that we needed to transform the way we approached service provision and identified a requirement for IT to support this vision. We needed one integrated platform across the range of children’s services, and we wanted that to extend to
cover adult social care too."
A case for change
The council put together a Families & Children’s transformation programme. Kevin Marshall, Portfolio Manager, Wiltshire Council comments:
"The transformation programme enabled us to establish a clear set of requirements. We sought a wide variety of input from different areas of the business to define the functionality and end user experience required, whilst the ICT team was clear that a cloud-based service would serve us most efficiently. We wanted to recognise the benefits of improved systems without carrying the technology overhead."
Kevin Marshall continues:
"Having a clear vision of our needs, we took the decision to go out to tender. Our requirements were not just for a children’s social care system but also an education management and early years solution which would be on the same platform as social care. For us, it was vital that workers had one view of a person and their family and that data flowed accordingly."
Following a competitive tender process, Wiltshire Council selected Liquidlogic to provide its cloud-based social care, education management and early years solution. This would go on to replace the OLM CareFirst system which had been in place for almost 20-years, and various education systems.
The Liquidlogic Children’s Social Care system (LCS), Early Help Module (EHM) and Early Years & Education System (EYES) are now live at Wiltshire Council and according to workers, have made a difference.
Carol-Anne Partridge, Assistant Team Manager at the Council says:
"The previous system required more manual inputting and contained fragmented information, particularly in early help. We felt this could have left us exposed as a service and knew it was vital that we could present one consolidated view of a child
Consolidation across early help and social care now makes things quicker for workers, who are pleased at the speed of Liquidlogic. We have been able to tailor the system to match our ways of working whilst also adhering to statutory requirements.
As we roll out the solution to partners, the graphical Atom functionality will become invaluable; the quick pictorial overview of a case saves time in hunting around the case file.
Occupational Therapists, who didn’t previously have an IT solution, are now avid users of the Liquidlogic OT workspace and have really embraced it. Feedback is that it has made their lives easier, and again it’s all about consolidation and viewing everything in one place. In addition to that, the Contact and Assessment Team is using the legal workspace where we have created specific forms to support our approach and this works well."
Paul Holdsworth, Assistant Team Manager at the Council says:
"The key difference for me is the consolidation aspect – all children are together in one place, and the family working functionality is a considerable time saver. Workers in my team have been really positive about the fact that they can see all of the cases that they are working on in the worktray along with deadlines. They have also commented that they like the tile screen which provides an overview of cases at a glance.
From a supervisory point of view, it is much clearer than the previous system. I can see workloads easily and am able to ensure that staff are not overloaded. In the previous system, we had to drill down into each worker to then build a caseload picture, whereas now I can look at a worktray and see a count of caseloads and deadlines, as opposed to a manual count. I can also easily access case notes and get a feel for what is happening in a case in just one or two screens."
Carol-Anne Partridge goes on to say:
"Our configuration work is paying dividends. The fact that we can record work on a group of siblings through Liquidlogic’s ‘Family Working’ has been really helpful. However, the option to concurrently support children’s journeys individually is still important, for example where multiple siblings have different parents.
Benefits at Every Level
Speaking about the benefits, Tamsin Stone, Business Change Manager at Wiltshire Council says:
"There are the obvious efficiency savings to having information in one place, but it goes beyond that. Directors are now using Liquidlogic and finding information very easily. I would say that there is now more information at the fingertips of the entire department and Liquidlogic enables teams to be more proactive and faster-paced. Feedback is that the system is very good for management oversight; the manager tray is a vital aid to this.
In reporting terms, there is a screen for everyone. You can display the same information differently depending on the user’s preferences; – for example if you are a visual or mathematical person etc. Liquidlogic is very adaptable for reporting."
Click here to download the Wiltshire case study.