Wakefield social workers still struggling with slow IT system

It's taking social workers up to six minutes a time to open and close a single case file on their work computers.

It's emerged that a chronically slow IT system is still hampering Wakefield Council's children's services, despite big improvements across the department of late.

The issue is leading to some small delays in case recording.

The issue is leading to some small delays in case recording.

Ofsted identified poor case recording as one of its big concerns when it rated children's services inadequate in the summer of 2018, but the regulator then said in a recent letter that that issue had been "significantly improved".

It said that Wakefield Council had redesigned and relaunched new systems to help with case recording.

However, at a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, the council's service director for social care, Vicky Schofield said staff were still struggling with the current IT software they were using.

She said: "It's a fact of life that our recording is poor because the system is very, very slow.

Wakefield Town Hall

Wakefield Town Hall

"It is taking up to six minutes to open and close a document.

"If you think about 1,500 records a month going into that system, all of which have to be dealt with within 24 hours, and that's six minutes for one record.

"So that whole process is slowing staff down, even if they're working really effectively."

In June, the council said it was looking for a new IT provider to run its programme for children's services, following Ofsted's findings.

Its five year deal with the original provider, Careworks, was signed in 2017 but has not been terminated early. Careworks is still being used by social services to store details on vulnerable adults in Wakefield.

Ms Schofield added: "Our IT people have been great. They've interrogated the whole system and done what they can.

"But it's an issue with the provider and we have no control over that.

"We are moving away from that provider but it's not an easy fix.

"Within 48 hours the vast majority of the work is done, so they're not vast delays, but they are delays and they need to be improved."

Local Democracy Reporting Service