Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Multi-agency Working In Children's Services

Full Story:
The issue of multi-agency information sharing has recently raised serious concerns throughout the public sector As such preparing for existing and future challenges within this area is a particularly complex and sensitive task. In response, Children's Services at Sheffield City Council has recently undergone a complete transformation. Robert Fitzgerald, Children's Services Product Manager at OLM Group, the UK's largest independent supplier of information solutions for children's and adult services, explains. The lack of efficient information sharing in health, social care and other key Government departments has been highlighted by high profile child protection cases such as that of Victoria ClimbiĆ© have exposed failing across the social care system. Therefore the need for the transformation of children's services to prevent such tragedies from recurring has never been so prominent. Following the launch of the ‘Every Child Matters' initiative in 2004, organisations involved in providing services to children, from hospitals and schools, to police and voluntary groups, are required to work together to share information and thus protect young people from harm. Furthermore by the end of 2008 a national infrastructure will be in place supporting the collaboration of all major organisations involved in the welfare of young children. No system can ever fully guarantee that children will not fall through the net of support provision, however Sheffield City Council is one of many local authorities that has established practices to decrease the likelihood of this happening. As one of fourteen authorities, the Council was invited by the DCSF in 2003 to trailblaze the tools and techniques required to establish best practice for Identification Referral and Tracking (IRT). A key feature of the project was an accessible web portal named SafetyNET. SafetyNET promotes joined-up working by helping children's services professionals access a list of other individuals working with a child. An important contribution to the information held in SafetyNET came from CareFirst, a leading case management solution from OLM Group, which is used by over 75 local authorities to support more than 40% of the population.

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