CHARMS - Portal/Live Search Software

  • CHARMS System Features CHARMS Live Search - Helping Foster Care Commissioners

  • Social Care Network Solutions (SCN), a long established social enterprise, has now enabled independent fostering agencies (and children's residential care providers) to make their vacancies visible to local authority commissioners.
  • The secure, online database system, CHARMS, now holds details of 90% of foster carers looked after by independent fostering providers (IFPs). Those IFPs use CHARMS, every day to manage all aspects of carer recruitment, training, assessment and approval. Once approved, carers use CHARMS to securely record their logs on the children they look after. Social workers use CHARMS to record supervisions, online, which are then immediately available for foster carers to read. In the words of one Ofsted inspector :
  • "Their knowledge is supported through dedicated use of an online system that centrally records information from carers, staff and managers in one place. This helps to track progress and outcomes for children and young people. Rigorous and effective monitoring of the service is aided by comprehensive use of a recognised online information system. This is used by carers and staff alike to record all aspects of the agency’s work and to track the individual progress of children and young people. By providing all with relevant access, information is shared more effectively and efficiently. For example, supervising social workers are able to review daily records completed by foster carers in advance of supervision visits. This helps them to maintain awareness of significant developments and to support carers appropriately. Records of supervision visits can be accessed by foster carers as soon as they are completed. This enables foster carers to be clear about advice or direction given to them by supervising social workers during visits. Leaders and managers have close links with the software manufacturer and are able to influence positive changes in the system. All users have access to technical support to assist when problems occur."
  • Some 20,000 carer family records are held in CHARMS and at any point more than 3,000 of those have vacancies.
  • All local authority staff can now use the CHARMS Live Search to find those vacancies - free of charge. If a vacancy is found, CHARMS Live Search offers the commissioner or placement worker the contact details of the referrals or out of hours contact at the IFP and practitioners can speak to each other about a possible match.
  • IFPs still retain complete control as they can decide which carers to display and exactly what information they wish to present to commissioners.
  • IFPs do not need to be CHARMS users - the CHARMS Live Search is simply a window (a secure window) in to the vacancy information held in CHARMS but equally non CHARMS users can upload their vacancies to the secure CHARMS-Portal. That too is free of charge.
  • Ground-breaking "CHARMS-Compliance" tool
  • And in a ground-breaking initiative commissioners can now use CHARMS Live Search to keep track of all of their children placed with IFPs. SCN have partnered with the Redbridge Council and Diverse Care (a fast growing, London and South East based IFP) to pilot the CHARMS Compliance tool. Redbridge staff will, from 1/3/2017 be able to view all of their children placed with IFPs and see the unique CHARMS Outcomes Tracker for each of those children. In addition they will be able to monitor the IFPs' contract compliance around indicators such as placement stability and disruptions, carer approvals, de-registrations and resignations, staff qualifications and lots more.
  • No more contract quarterly returns to commissioners or framework groups. No need for monitoring visits. Redbridge Council will be the first authority to be able to "see" in real time how their IFP partners are doing AND how each child's outcomes are improving under the care of those IFP foster carers.
  • Scores of LAs are already using the CHARMS Live Search and more than 250 IFPs use CHARMS.
  • If you are an LA or an IFP and you would like to sign up to the CHARMS Live Search - free of charge, always, for everyone - you can call Jim Moores or Phil Moses on 0161 237 1872 or email
  • Notes for Editors :
  • CHARMS was first developed in the late 1990s to help the Greater Manchester Adoption And Fostering Consortium share adopter/carer and children information to facilitate the best possible matches and placements in a timely fashion. GMAFC became Adoption 22.
  • CHARMS is now used across the UK and Ireland to help the adoption, fostering and children’s residential community to manage all of the case files associated with children’s services.
  • Social Care Network Solutions Limited is a social enterprise and remains privately owned and run.
  • For further information please contact Jim Moores at or on 0161 237 1872.