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Vulnerable children early warning system on G-Cloud by end of year
New service on UK government cloud could prevent another Baby P
Software to let social workers to let each other know when they are working with the same vulnerable children and adults could be available on the G-Cloud by the end of the year.
According to a report by public sector technology publication UKAuthority, the “Patchwork” system, is being developed by FutureGov, for social services and other organisations to notify each other if they are working with the same children or adults at risk.
The social technology firm is working on the project with a number of authorities in the UK as well as the social entrepreneur charity Nesta and the Nominet Trust. A pilot scheme was launched last month at Brighton and Hove City council.
"In a number of high profile cases such as baby Peter there have been tragic outcomes primarily due to the fact that a number of organisations may be working with a child or family but aren't necessarily aware of each other," Katherine Wheatley, outgoing Patchwork Programme Director at FutureGov, told UKAuthority. "Had they seen the whole picture the overall level of concern should have been higher, but because they work in silos, it isn't."
Originally the scope of the project was much broader, trying to achieve the aim of sharing data between organisations. However, the company came across sizable hurdles that prevented this.
“There are an astonishing number of those systems out there, even within a single organisation," said Wheatley. She added that the Data Protection Act prevents many organisations sharing sensitive data on children.
Rather than tying systems together, the project moved onto helping professionals to talk to each other. Patchwork can also act as a platform to allow referrals between professionals.
She said a practitioner could say they have an increasing concern about a particular individual – “not an emergency where there are other procedures but just that things may not be moving in the right direction.”
She added that if others also use that feature, “it will alert you to say you guys should talk to each other, you, you and you have all said this, go and have a meeting."
The company is currently evaluating all pilots and looking into launching pilots in other authorities with the aim to launch a product on G-Cloud by the end of the year.