What is Safeguarding?
What are the challenges of Safeguarding?
Anyone who has spent any time working in local government, particularly in safeguarding children, will be all too aware of the challenges in trying to stitch together cumbersome public services to solve complex social problems.
Umpteen organisations – each one with their own priorities, unique cultures and sets of rules and regulations, and none able to solve these challenges on their own – are all equally burdened by the weight of policy, structure and bureaucracy that often prevents them from working effectively and efficiently.
How does technology help improve Safeguarding?
Where once technology was fixed and change pre-packaged, we are now able to listen, learn and iterate to make sure that the end result has the best impact on outcomes for the children these professionals support. Social workers feel they have a stake in the technology and an interest in helping to make it a success.
Frontline staff are best placed to design new and effective ways to work. An exploratory, collaborative approach like Patchwork presents far less risk to the organisation compared to the large procurement processes of the past.
The world of child protection is extremely complex and challenging – and numerous public sector agencies are involved at any given time. One small slip-up can end in tragedy. And that is something that has unfortunately happened time and time again.
Now, a new internet-based project is aiming to enable each support organisation to better understand the life of a child and the involvement of those who ensure their safety.
Bringing about positive change in Safeguarding
The Patchwork project was launched by FutureGov, a consultancy and social innovation incubator that helps to shape the future of government. And it’s all about using smart design and social technology to find new ways to better connect professionals and their clients and improve the quality of support and outcomes for all.
A smart safeguarding app
The first phase of the project saw FutureGov bringing together a project team that researched safeguarding and developed a concept for how social technology could contribute to keeping children safe.
From this, they devised a website application that would help to bring everyone involved closer together and keep up-to-date with the latest situation. The Patchwork app is designed for use by all the people supporting complex families to build and strengthen their relationships – and keep the child and their family at the centre of everything they do.
Supporting innovation and transformation
In the next phase of the Patchwork project, FutureGov is joining forces with Lichfield and Staffordshire’s Strategic Partnerships with a view to expanding on the proof of concept work already done to develop the app into a scalable product.
The project represents an exciting opportunity to show how new technology can transform public services and how new business models can support innovation in the public sector.
But more importantly still, it has the potential to transform the way in which professionals and non-professionals alike in the complicated world of child protection could better share information and form the kinds of relationships that might prevent future tragedies.