Jan 2012 – What now, after ICS? CHARMS leads the way.

News ID: 272

JAN 2012 - WHAT NOW, AFTER ICS? CHARMS LEADS THE WAY. Many local authorities have gone back to the drawing board given the failure of ICS to deliver the child protection, operational and efficiency savings it once promised. CHARMS holds the key to one single, operational system to manage children, carer and establishment caseload and to deliver instant access for all stakeholders in childrens care. For more than 10 years CHARMS has delivered on every aspect of day-to-day management of case records in the independent sector. As at January 2012, for example, more than 70 independent fostering and adoption agencies use CHARMS and more than 8,000 (of the 13,000 foster carers looked after by the independent sector) are now in CHARMS. A number of local authorities have been using CHARMS to manage their adoption and fostering services records – Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, Islington and many others. CHARMS has been re-designed, over the last five years, to deliver a fully integrated, single resource for all of children’s services. Unlike ICS, CHARMS manages all children’s records, in every respect, AND manages all aspects of carer recruitment, training and approval. Every placement (foster care, adoption or residential) is managed and may be reported upon. CHARMS is a complete, paperless solution. But it is NOT the place of computer systems to dictate to professionals; to constrain them; to force them in to pointless form filling. Rather, CHARMS assists those professionals and takes away the onerous burden of paperwork and management information reporting. Running records, children’s daily logs/diaries; reviews; monthly supervisions and every other “event” are recorded directly in to CHARMS using the fully online screens. & Carers can logon to record the children’s daily logs and look at their own training records, & Form F (PAR) assessors can log all of the required information/checks directly in to CHARMS, & Panel members may logon to view the “paperwork” in advance of and at panel, & Young people in care can access their own areas, online, to record/update personal diaries, answer questionnaires, or find the telephone number of their own social worker, & Social workers can enter running records quickly and easily and look at the stat checks screen to make sure everything is on track, & Out of hours/duty staff can log “events” as they happen, & And admin staff can record CRBs, Medicals, LAC paperwork and see reminders whenever they need to. & Managers may view, whenever they need to, statistics or do an electronic file audit, & Returns for regulatory bodies may be generated on the click of a button. The Ofsted Dataset is produced in less than 20 seconds… Eileen Munro said : “Recording is a key social work task and its centrality to the protection of children cannot be over-estimated. Getting effective recording systems in place to support practice is critical.” A recent Ofsted report of an independent fostering agency (October 2010 – Fostering Outcomes) using CHARMS said: "The agency is run by a competent staff team who are clear about their roles. Excellent systems exist for monitoring all aspects of the agency's functions and this goes some way to ensuringthat the well-being of young people is fully promoted and protected.
The overall quality rating is outstanding." and … "The agency takes its responsibility for ensuring that young people live in a safe home seriously. Regular health and safety checks occur in carers homes, which carers report are thorough. The agency has robust systems for ensuring that annual checks are not missed. The matching process is excellent and carers report that this works well. Matching is aided by an electronic system, close relationships with foster carers and regular practice discussions. One foster care said 'I was given full details of the child before they came'. Another said 'We had an emergency placement and every attempt possible was made to give us information about the young person. A young person said 'I am happy where I am placed'." and … "Monitoring is done through electronic systems that allow management to monitor most aspects of the service, from ensuring that all young people are registered with a dentist, to making sure that supervising social workers receive regular supervision ." And in respect of another CHARMS user Ofsted said (Fostering Solutions, Nov 2010) : "The agency is well managed. It has very effective systems in place to direct, manage and monitor its practice. The effectiveness of these management systems contribute significantly to the overall judgement of outstanding as they provide a robust foundation to the agency’s strong practice ." "Administrative records held are similarly very well kept. The records of foster carers are fully maintained, of good quality with key information being readily accessible. The agency makes very effective use of its computerised records system which allows robust monitoring by management and aids quality assurance." To quote Eileen Munro once more : " the analysis of requirements for ICT-based systems for child and family social work should primarily be based on a human-centred analysis of what is required by frontline workers; any clashes between the functional >requirements that have been identified by this process and those associated with management information reporting should normally be resolved in terms of the former" It is very interesting that CHARMS is designed quite specifically as an operational system whose single premise is to save frontline workers time - to allow for the care of children AND the support of carers. A natural conclusion of that approach is that the data is good and therefore management reports are accurate, always. The abstract from the study “When policy o’erleaps itself: the ‘tragic tale’ of the Integrated Children’s System.” White, Sue et al, August 2010, tells us : “Information technology plays a pivotal role in New Labour’s modernisation programme. The findings from a 2 year ethnographic study of the impact and origin of the Integrated Children’s System (ICS), which has been deployed in statutory children’s social care, are reported. The article explains how the ICS, by attempting to micro-manage work through a rigid performance management regime, and a centrally prescribed practice model, has disrupted the professional task, engendering a range of unsafe practices and provoking a gathering storm of user resistance. These paradoxical outcomes are attributed to inherent flaws in the design of ICS, which derive from the history of its development and its embodiment of an audit-driven, inspectorial ideology. The article concludes with some suggestions for user-centred design and policymaking, which have relevance not only for children’s social care but for the public services in general.” A study published in April 2009 : “An Exemplary Scheme? An Evaluation of the Integrated Children’s System” (Ian Shaw, Margaret Bell, Ian Sinclair, Patricia Sloper, Wendy Mitchell, Paul Dyson, Jasmine Clayden, and Jackie Rafferty) said of focus groups : “They found the exemplars prescriptive, repetitive and bitty, dividing the information into ‘chunks’ so that the story was difficult to follow. They said the tick boxes (e.g. ‘client has mental health problems’) were often irrelevant and too imprecise to be useful. The forms were too complex to share with families and children or other professionals, and not user-friendly.” CHARMS was developed for the users, by the users. In close consultation with a number of agencies – statutory and independent – the CHARMS screens were devised to enable easy access and to save operational staff time in managing “paperwork”. Even to the extent of enabling social workers to enter running records with just two clicks of the mouse once the carer or child record has been located. CHARMS also holds the entire chronology of a carer or a child in one “Progress” screen. Alongside carers’ most recent CRB check or annual review the worker may see the most recent telephone conversation with a carer or with a GP… Everything is in context and the most recent “event” is always at the top of the screen. CHARMS customers will happily testify to its effectiveness and useability. If you would like more information or a free, informal demonstration of the power of CHARMS please ring 0161 237 1872 and ask for Jim Moores or email info@chl-systems.co.uk.


Dec 2011 - Team Fostering get trained in CHARMS

News ID: 268

Great news : Rik and Jim spent the week of 12 December 2012 atTeam Fostering in Sheffield and North Shields training staff in CHARMS. It was a very enjoyable week and Team Fostering, with CHL's help, are getting the carer and childrens' records up-to-date ready for go live in January. Thank you to all the staff at Team Fostering for their enthusiasm and energy.


Sunbeam Fostering excited about CHARMS

News ID: 267

We are delighted to announce that Sunbeam Fostering, based in Middlesex, have chosen CHARMS Online to assist them with the management of their referrals, enquiries and placements. Sunbeam Fostering will soon be able to enjoy thebenefit of a bespoke system, developed over several years, that will streamline their administration processes and facilitate compliance with statutory requirements. We have completedbusiness analysis and we are very much looking forward to working with the staff at Sunbeam Fostering.


Nov 2011 - Tree House Care Fostering Services and CHARMS

News ID: 270

Lorna Sturgess, CHL's Business Manager, is pleased to annouce that Tree House Care have signed up for CHARMS. Tree House Care have recognised that as a growing foster care agency it is important to have the best, online computer system to manage children and carer records and to deliver the Ofsted dataset. We at CHL would like to thank Tree House for choosing CHARMS.


Nov 2011 - St Cuthberts Care get CHARMS for their Fostering service

News ID: 271

We are delighted that St Cuthberts have decided that CHARMS is the best system for their fostering service. After careful deliberation it was decided that CHARMS offered the best, cost-effective solution to the daily case file management needs of the growing fostering service. We, at CHL, would like to offer our thanks and will get things up and running early in the new year.


Oct 2011 - Clifford House Fostering get CHARMS

News ID: 269

CHL would like to thank the team at Clifford House Fostering for deciding that CHARMS is the system for them. After a a great meeting at the Clifford House offices in Herefordshire the decision was quickly made to go with CHARMS. Implementation is being organised for January 2012 and we are really looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.


BAAF rated as 'Outstanding' following their recent Ofsted inspection.

News ID: 265

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF)has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in its recent inspection. The agency will be included on Ofsted’s outstanding provider’s list. BAAF were actually rated ‘outstanding’ in every area that was assessed, recognising the excellence of all services provided by the charity.


September 2011 Kasper Fostering opt for CHARMS Online

News ID: 266

We are delighted to announce that Kasper Fostering, based in Whitstable, Kent, have chosen CHARMS Online to assist them with the management of their referrals, enquiries and placements. Kasper Fostering will soon be able to enjoy thebenefit of a bespoke system, developed over several years, that will streamline their administration processes and facilitate compliance with statutory requirements. As the project gets underway with the imminenet business analysis day, we are very much looking forward to working with the staff at Kasper Fostering.


August 2011 Five Rivers Child Care Ltd to pilot CHARMS

News ID: 263

Five Rivers Child Care have chosen to pilot CHARMS in their South West Region to manage their fostering and residential care services. Five Rivers is a leading independent, Social Enterprise that works with
Looked-After Children who are in need of specialist care throughout England and
Ireland. CHARMS is the most widely used fostering systemin the UK For more information call 0161 237 1872


July 2011 - Kaleidoscope Therapeutic Child Care get CHARMS

News ID: 262

Kaleidoscope were so impressed they decided to go with CHARMS. Kaleidoscope is an Independent Fostering Provider offering a range of services centered on high-quality family care within fostering families. For more information about CHARMS just call 0161 237 1872.