Essex County Council wanted to bring together all the information from different teams across children’s services into one place.
Essex County Council had to assess data about families and children from more than 700 different sources. This was not only time consuming, but also led to concern that some issues could slip through the cracks.
In 2015, the Council created a one-stop shop for information across children’s services. Using Capita’s One management information system, information was brought in from the different sources, allowing it to be shared securely across departments and giving authorised employees access to a clear picture of a family’s specific needs.
The system is helping the Council to predict where future needs will arise. For example, by putting data gathered through early years programmes into the Capita One system, the Council can assess how many school places will be needed, without relying on external sources, such as health services.
Essex has cut its data sources by 56% in one year and this figure continues to fall. Now, when one area of the Council is informed of a change of address or a child moving schools, the information is reflected across all departments, saving staff time and providing families with a more seamless service.
If a young person with special educational needs stops attending school, for example, those teams working with the family know quickly. Authorised staff could also see key information such as details of past attendance issues, exclusion or bullying. Having access to the bigger picture is critical to providing the right support, at the right time, to get the young person back into lessons.
"If we want to be ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of children and families then being proactive rather than reactive is the way forwards."
Emma Toublic, Head of Education Information and Business Systems, Essex County Council
She points out that the ability to pinpoint issues early in children’s development could improve outcomes in both the community and wider economy. As well as helping the council prevent vulnerable children from slipping through the cracks, the initiative enables staff to identify those who need help to reach their potential.
Capita One has lifted some of the paperwork burden from council employees in the field, allowing them to focus on improving the lives of families in their care. In Essex, the days of information overload for staff dealing with vital family matters is being consigned to history.