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DCLG Local Digital Campaign Sponsors

Local Digital Campaign

Monday 6 January 2014Author: Mel Poluck

Co-created data-sharing software cuts assessment time by 50%

Software developed by a cross-sector consortium to improve outcomes for vulnerable individuals and families has reduced the time it takes social workers, health and third sector organisations to assess cases by around 50%, according to one council user also involved in its development.

Semitae, Latin for 'paths', provides a detailed view of cases at all stages, allowing users to make informed assessment and referral decisions based on a single view of consolidated data.

Semitae screenshotInformation can be accessed and updated by health organisations, social workers and charities working with people at risk, particularly children and those involved in 'troubled families' and homelessness prevention programmes.

"It's early days, but it is cutting down assessment time by about half", said Jo Lancaster, Supporting People Manager, Market Development, Quality and Commissioning, Stockport MBC. "We expect to make savings on admin costs. We would seek to reduce contract values to reflect the fact we have reduced staff time spent on assessments and data returned to us", she told Local Digital.

Lancaster said that Semitae prevents duplication of assessments and allows for the individual's "story" to be built up and changed over time.

The system was conceived by a consortium of providers, users and Stockport's 'Supporting People' programme team as part of its participation in a Supporting People 'Payment by results' pilot, and then developed by supplier IEG4. "It's a fantastic piece of collaboration with the third sector, commissioners, users and IT developers. This adds a huge amount of credibility", Lancaster said. "Each outcome within the system has 'progress steps' that have been worded and agreed by providers and users".

Mobile support staff, such as social workers, can complete assessments using the product's offline app, which automatically synchronises case notes - including handwritten notes - to the back office once users are online.

"All serious case reviews hinge on the lack of understanding about risk. Semitae has been built with solid information governance support. We need to maximise the efficiency and benefit of every interaction with a vulnerable person, whether this is through hospitals, police, housing or social care. This system enables that information to be securely shared and only with people who have a right of access".