I had a great morning in the One Point Service at Bishop Auckland. The weather was awful and it didn’t help that I had put the wrong postcode into my satnav but other than that it was time very well spent. The One Point Service brings council staff together with the NHS and provides a variety of free advice and support and a range of activities for children, young people and families. They support children, young people and their families from early pregnancy to the age of 19 years and for some children and young people who have a disability, up to the age of 25 years.
This was the second One Point that I had visited and it is where the local social workers, specialist case holders, family workers and their associated management hang out. This morning though I wanted to do something specific. They use our current social care system and we are thinking about its possible replacement. I wanted to speak to people who have to work with the system day in and day out to find out what they would like to have should it change. What features and functions would they value in order to do their job.
It may surprise you that even though I work in ICT, I get to use very few of the systems we support. Most of them are niche to the delivery services and instead my job is to make sure that they keep working rather than to understand the functionality.
I am part of the team to look at the social care system replacement and I felt it would be a good start to at least get a flavour for what it is there to do.
So that is why I was in Bishop Auckland. I spent my time speaking to half a dozen people and we talked about ease of operation, duplication of effort, the ability to find relevant information, having a clear view of the essential issues and the need for the software to help them do what they do best.
I must confess that I had to ask what a social worker did. I guess that means I have le a charmed life so far.
What a useful morning I had. I got a completely different perspective of how the system was used. At times it felt that the social workers were there to feed the system rather than the system was there to support the vital social work they were doing. This is something we will have to change and I feel that I am now able to talk from a position of some strength.
As Albert Einstein once said ‘The only source of knowledge is experience’.