Collaborative Care for children: The new era

A new era is dawning in which information sharing between social workers, multi-agency teams and families will help ensure vulnerable children get the support they need, sooner. 

Current estimates place two million children in the UK today as being living in difficult family circumstances. These circumstances can be anything from those:

·         Whose family lives are affected by drug or alcohol dependency

·         Whose family has a history of domestic abuse

·         Who are in poor mental health

The recently published ADCS report, Pillars & Foundations: Next practice in children’s services, highlighted that the sector must become much more proactive in delivering early help. Underlining this was a recommendation for a greater level of engagement between teams such as social care, health and the families they support.

In terms of long-term development and growth, it is always imperative that these families receive help at the earliest opportunity. The longer help alludes children and their families, the worse the situation can become. Significant harm can result from a lack of intervention and it is only right that local authorities and their partners are working closer together to give children and their families the best possible start in life. As Professor Eileen Munro highlighted in her review of child protection, ‘preventative services can do more to reduce abuse and neglect than reactive services’.

In recent years, advances in technology have made it easier for the information recorded by multi-agency teams to be brought together, allowing it to be viewed from one place by all those who need it.

Models of working supported by the right technology can enable truly collaborative care

Collaborative models in action - Wolverhampton City Council

Wolverhampton City Council came to OLM in 2015 with a problem. They looked at their current safeguarding procedures and realised that they needed a more efficient multi agency safeguarding solution, which they purchased via the G-Cloud Framework. Eager to get rolling with the system, they charged OLM with the ambitious task of setting the system live within eight weeks. The deadline was quickly achieved, with Wolverhampton now processing an average of more than 50 cases through their Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub per week.

The purchase of OLM’s Guardian system improved the efficiency of the Safeguarding team by being easily able to share information between partners. The expedient sharing of information being a key consideration for all safeguarding teams in 2016.

Eclipse for Early Help

Building on the success of Guardian, Wolverhampton recently launched with OLM’s Eclipse case management system for Early Help. The addition of Eclipse to Wolverhampton’s safeguarding process means that troubled families are easier to identify and categorise, with early help being available to these families in a more expedient fashion than before.

The versatile nature of Eclipse means that it can be installed and used in care homes and local authorities alike, but more than that, it can be tailored. The version of Eclipse that Wolverhampton have purchased is focused on Early Help, but it can also be used for troubled families and as previously mentioned, care home settings. It expedites the Early Help process and allows case notes to be recorded on any device, anywhere, providing more time for social workers to spend with those who need help the most.

As mentioned previously, the earlier that help can reach the family, the better the long-term prospects for them are. In recent years, the sharing of information has been a keen pursuit of many safeguarding and early help teams, to get a full picture of the family. What is meant here by getting a full picture of the family, is that a child may have received an injury that is picked up by a doctor but missed by social worker or teacher as it is under their clothing. Without easy access to shared data this piece of the puzzle may be missed and that child remains in danger.

Rightfully so, many local authorities are establishing a more co-ordinated and structured approach to early help and safeguarding processes to protect those in danger. At OLM Systems, we believe that these processes are key to safeguarding the lives of children and families across the country. This is why we have created all of our products with the next ten years in mind. We have created long-lasting relationships with our clients and cultivate their knowledge and experience to shape the direction of our products.

For more information relating to any of the products mentioned on this page, please contact our experienced and dedicated team for a free, no-hassle demonstration.