Councils Join Forces To Better Protect Children

Dorset local authorities have joined forces to deliver a ground-breaking integrated children system (ICS). The unique pan-Dorset consortium is formed of Bournemouth Borough Council, Borough of Poole and Dorset County Council. Through shared services, it will ensure constituency of approach across the region, whilst also enabling the local authorities involved to purchase the necessary information technology solution in the most cost-effective manner.

The ICS is to be delivered in line with Government targets for local authorities to standardise and develop the information records of Children and Families Services by January 2007. This programme is a result of the 2003 Every Child Matters green paper and Children Act 2004, arising from the Victoria Climbié enquiry, which recognised the need for improving and sharing the recording of information by social services to better protect vulnerable children.

An extension to this exciting initiative has been developed by Bournemouth Borough Council, which has established an adult care management system (ACMS) as a central point of information on all adult and social care users in Bournemouth.

Following a stringent tendering process, the £3.8million five-year contract was awarded to CareWorks, a leading provider of social care management systems and Northgate Information Solutions, the UK’s leading provider of community justice systems, who will also host the secure site.

Due to go live at the end of this year, the new systems will provide care professionals with fully electronic social care records a single point of access for information, enabling them to deliver improved services to vulnerable children and adults in a speedier, more accurate and more effective manner. Allowing appropriate information sharing across the whole of Dorset will also provide citizens with care services that are built upon their individual situations and needs.

Future plans for the new management system include sharing information with education and healthcare services as well as police and young offenders services.

Judith Geddes, Chair of the pan-Dorset Consortium Programme Board said: “The new integrated Children’s system is set to revolutionise the management of social care in Dorset and is a great example of partnership working across councils for the benefit of our younger generation. The added value for Bournemouth is through the development of our ACMS as an extension to this initiative which will significantly streamline our systems to work in the most effective way. We are delighted to have on board CareWorks and Northgate IS and have confidence in their ability to deliver this innovative project on time and to budget.

Michael Dolan, Director of CareWorks said: “Working in partnership with the pan-Dorset Consortium and Northgate IS, we have an opportunity to deliver a market leading system for children’s and adults social care. The project is a major breakthrough for CareWorks in England, providing the opportunity to significantly enhance our software solution for social care and strengthening CareWorks’ position as a leading provider to children’s and adults services.”