Improving outcomes for families by radically rethinking social care

FutureGov - Family Stories

Challenge

Legacy case management systems, focused on collecting information, are costing local authorities hundreds of thousands per year in licensing and maintenance. Social workers achieve amazing things with families, but are held back by the systems and technology they work with.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster Children’s Services recognise this problem and asked FutureGov to help them radically rethink how technology can support children’s social care.

Together, we’ve been exploring how we approach child protection in a more user-centred way, that supports the people working hard to improve the lives of families and young people, so that we all help keep children safe.

Approach

During our initial Discovery phase, user research helped us explore the current experience of social workers and families. We found that on average, social workers can spend 60% of their time on a computer writing, recording and processing data.

With a design-led approach, we started working with frontline teams across the child protection journey, from referrals to leaving care. Meeting with a range of stakeholders, we worked with the councils to turn insights into a future journey, putting the user’s experience at the heart of the entire service.

Spending time with families and young people, we sought to understand what it feels like to be using and going through these services. Challenges around transparency, having ownership over their story and tense relationships with practitioners showed an opportunity to improve the experiences and relationships for both families and social workers.

We created FamilyStory – a set of simple digital case management tools for social care that is designed to meet the needs of social workers, partner agencies and families.

Impact

FamilyStory reduces the administrative burden placed on social workers and increases the time they have available to work directly with families. FamilyStory aims to increase productivity by up to 30% and improve the ability for families and social workers to collaborate by:

  • significantly reducing report writing and time taken on administrative tasks
  • improving transparency, increasing the quality of relationships and trust between practitioners and families
  • improving collaboration between social work teams and other professionals
  • collaboratively building a picture of need, supporting social workers to manage risk and informing decision-making

“FamilyStory is really useful, especially for initial assessment – the location, who was there – it all helps. Right now we do so much copying and pasting from different places.”

– Social Worker, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham