At Brighton and Hove Children’s Services we are starting to review the multitude of assessment processes that are conducted on our children and families with additional needs. These have grown up over time in specific services and organisations. These overlapping processes are in need of review and rationalisation and the removal of central government prescription is going to allow that to happen. It will be a push to conduct this kind of review with the scant resources available for project work, but the efficiencies that can be delivered are great.
If we can develop systems that allow the creation of an ever-building and changing “needs picture” we will drive out lots of duplication and inaccuracy. The Eileen Munro Review of Child Protection talks about this and we await her final report in April.
If we can develop flexible and user friendly web and mobile assessment/survey tools, we can readily capture rich data around outcomes and service effectiveness in the process of delivering well designed, guided sessions between practitioner and client.
But more than that, I can see that the technologies emerging that survey people (daily even) over the web and mobile, provide a huge amount of potential to keep in touch with vulnerable people, from a change of address noitification to them telling us they’ve been bullied or feel worried about something.
With stretched resources, wouldn’t it be great to be able to automatically ‘beep’ a client and simply check how they are today? This would help services prioritise face to face visits and provide a way of taking people through a thinking pathway to access the right help from their peers (connecting to social networks), family, professionals and advice services.
Digital inclusion issues are of course a concern, but a recent survey showed that pre-school kids are learning to open and use web pages and even use twitter. And another estimates that half of all US mobile phone users will have Smartphones by the end of this year. It won’t be long before you can’t really buy a non-smart phone.