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Friday, 17 July 2015

Survey: Social Care data sharing challenges in children’s services

Written by The Editorial Team

A new survey has found 84% of staff working in children’s services say that achieving efficient data sharing between multi-agency teams is one of the greatest technological challenges for social care.

The survey, which was recently carried out by Capita One, also revealed that 64% of children’s services staff think bringing information about children and families from health teams into their authorities was another key technological issue.

With the multi-agency approach central to the success of schemes such as the Troubled Families programme, the results suggest that more needs to be done to smooth the flow of information between the different teams working with children and families.

Speaking about the survey results, Phil Neal, managing director of Capita One, said: “It seems clear barriers exist that are preventing the efficient transfer of information on children and families between teams. It is important that these barriers are identified and removed to ensure that vulnerable children and families get the help they need as soon as possible.”  

The survey also explored some of the challenges authorities face when it comes to targeting their services at particular groups in their area. 56% of staff said they found it difficult or very difficult to identify troubled families, nearly 47% said it was difficult to identify teenage parents, 29% said the same for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) and 20% said it was a challenge identifying young offenders in their area. 

Phil Neal continued: “Early help is the essential golden thread in the planning and delivery of services for children and families. Authorities want to ensure precious resources are invested where they will have the greatest impact on improving lives – but the vital first step is knowing who it is that is in need.”

The survey also revealed other interesting results:

  • 54% of respondents said they were using a number of different software systems to monitor the success of early help initiatives in children's services. Nearly 36% revealed that they were using a mixture of both paper-based and software systems to track the effectiveness of early intervention programmes and only 16% had a single software system in place to do this.
  • 52% of staff said they felt that providing practitioners out in the field with effective tools for mobile working was one of the key technological challenges for social care in their authorities. 

Phil Neal concludes: “It is vital that authorised staff are able to access the information they need to see a fuller picture of the issues affecting vulnerable people in their area and monitor the success of their early help programmes. This is the bedrock to quickly making the right decisions on what support children and their families need to have a better chance of a brighter future.”

View the infographic associated with the survey: