Business process improvement - children's services
Brighton & Hove City Council had begun a business process analysis programme in Children's Services. In the context of the Council Plan for “a council the city deserves”, and the requirement for increased efficiency under the Value for Money agenda, the overall aim was for a systematic programme of improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and information handling within children’s services. The Council engaged a Business Improvement specialist from Socitm Consulting to help them extend the work into additional areas – principally Children’s Social Care and the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).
The initial aim was to produce a business case that develops recommendations for further information gathering, process change and technology change (electronic Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and integrated child data). However, as the project progressed it became clear that the appropriate outcome would be a brief report giving an overview of findings and recommendations, backed up by a set of more detailed appendices about each area of children’s services.
The programme started with the investigation of four selected areas of the service: Child Health Administration, Disability Services, Children’s Centres and Youth Services, and involved examining business processes within each of the selected areas, to identify opportunities to improve processes and to identify issues relating to access to information by frontline workers.
An initial period of orientation and planning was followed by 5 weeks of intensive interviewing – involving face-to-face meetings with some 49 members of staff from Children’s Services (ranging from senior managers to frontline workers and admin staff) plus telephone interviews with relevant staff from 8 comparable local authorities. Findings were synthesised into an extensive report, covering process and information issues within the Social Care Duty Teams, the Council’s implementation of CAF, and a number of other areas across Children’s Services, plus views about the possible implementation of an electronic “child index” and eCAF.
With the focus on identifying opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness, it was agreed that the report would include appendices outlining an overview of the service, its role, operation and business processes and the information systems in use. Key findings relating to processes and information management, recommendations for immediate improvements and further investigation were also included.
This assignment involved Socitm Consulting contributing to the first stages of an existing programme of work, as an additional “pair of hands”. Our Consultant gathered a great deal of information about a range of different areas within Children’s Services, and presented this in the form of a detailed report, which can be used by the project team in the future as an information resource.
Socitm Consulting made a major contribution to the appendices, covering a total of 7 different areas of Children’s Services, as well as providing a significant contribution to production of a report to be used to seek approval and funding for the next stages of the programme. It is hoped this will include detailed process mapping and redesign, review of the information systems in use, implementation of a “child index” and an eCAF system, plus a range of other developments.
John Shuttle, Programme Manager at Brighton & Hove CC commented “This was a very challenging project for the Socitm consultant as she had to gather an enormous amount of information within services that were all under pressure and all undergoing change. The consultant was able to understand the organisation clearly and entirely and carry out an extensive analysis within pressing timescales, requiring only little supervision. The consultant synthesized findings and contributed to a main report that has been well-received. The consultant was able to view our services with a fresh view and offer recommendations that will support the services well into the future. I am delighted with what has been achieved and would have no hesitation in recommending Socitm Consulting”.
Client Organisation: Brighton & Hove City Council
Client Contact: John Shuttle, Programme Manager, 01273 29 0285, email@example.com
Lead Consultant: Joanna Gilliatt
Project Number: 7552
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