Tech’s vital role in securing the future of childhood

Featured article - 24 May 2021
By Julie Tyas, Social Care Senior Business Applications Consultant, at Servelec.

Julie Tyas, Social Care Senior Business Applications Consultant, at Servelec.

The Children’s Commissioner for England’s once-in-a-generation review of the future of childhood will look to identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their full potential, propose policy and services solutions, and go on to develop targets for improvement. I believe technology will have a crucial role to play in rebuilding childhood and we, as a technology provider, must play our part to ensure that tech’s capability is embedded in any post-COVID recovery plan.

2020 saw the rate of digital change across the public sector accelerate rapidly, and the increased adoption of technology is enabling much faster rollouts of new systems. Children’s services was no exception.

User-friendly, intuitive mobile solutions have been designed to provide key information to professionals at the point of use, wherever they are. We’ve seen first-hand how these solutions can help education, youth services and children’s social care professionals to deliver more efficient services, by giving them access to records, forms and vital information when and where they need it.

Tech improving working practices

Mobile solutions also offer the flexibility to complete documents or forms, such as safeguarding referrals or care plans, via a mobile device. Case notes, forms and next actions can be recorded and synced automatically to a local authority’s case management system, reducing duplicate data entry and helping to improve working practices.

In order to rectify the damage caused by COVID-19 to vulnerable children and young people, the work of education, youth services, social care and healthcare teams will need to be intertwined.

Joining up our IT systems to offer integrated services and seamless data sharing has never been more important. Children’s mental health has suffered enormously during the pandemic so having full visibility of each vulnerable child and their care record will be vital. A recent YoungMinds survey found that 67% of young people believe the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health, and 75% have found the most recent lockdown harder to cope with than previous ones.

Our social care sector has a huge task on its hands, and care workers will need all the digital tools available to them to ensure nobody falls through the gaps created by COVID-19. It is crucial that technology providers are involved in helping to shape plans to support children and young people, in the coming months. Children’s services are facing some of the biggest challenges ever seen, and the impact of the pandemic is far from over.

Engaging with organisations which will make change happen – Government, schools, charities, local authorities, start-ups, children’s services, youth centres, and private enterprises, fully aligns with our mission of connecting communities through digital care.

Joined-up IT systems can help to highlight unknown issues, improve efficiency and give social care professionals the time, and the data they need to achieve more positive outcomes for children and young people. As technology providers to the public sector, we stand ready to play our part.

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