Family Context - Digital solutions for improving decisions on support for vulnerable children ALPHA

Project details:

Organisation Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Department IT
Collaboration Level Share Ideas
Budget £100k > £250k
Key Contact Craig Hughes
Phase start 01 January 2019
Phase Estimated end 16 May 2019



From September to December 2018, we worked on a joint discovery with partners to better understand the need for improved information about a child's family to support social work decision making.  We identified a clear need for a faster and more efficient way to find out which services a family is supported by, enabling social workers to accurately assess risks and more effectively co-ordinate support for the family.

The purpose of our project is summarised in our purpose statement:

“To more effectively harness the power of our data, enabling front line workers to identify the services that are working with vulnerable children and their families, better understand the family, family relationships and risks, and ultimately enable more effective coordination of support to ensure children are safeguarded appropriately”

We're doing this because:

  • Safeguarding and supporting vulnerable children is a key statutory duty of Local Authorities
  • Every day, Local Authorities make decisions on the most vulnerable children, decisions that can have a massive impact on their lives.
  • The correct decision will help to protect the children from harm and help ensure the families get the right support.
  • The wrong decision may mean the wrong support and potentially puts the child at risk
  • Budget cuts alongside an increase in demand means we need to make the right decision first time, reducing the likelihood of costly escalation
  • Local Authorities cannot afford to provide inappropriate support.

Our aims are to:

  • Provide greater awareness of which services are involved with children and their families to improve decision making and drive better outcomes e.g. avoiding unnecessary escalation
  • Reduce ad-hoc, and sometimes inappropriate, information sharing/requests
  • Reduce intensive manual data sharing processes
  • Enable collaboration between Local Authorities, by designing solutions to work for multiple authorities
  • Work in an agile manner, sharing progress in the open




Status Updates

20 May 2019

  • Craig Hughes

    Currently working on final report to submit to MHCLG.  Drafting a blog summarising our prototype work - links to previous blogs with further details below:


    Design Sprint