Pioneering digital innovations in children’s services
Achieving for Children has been pioneering digital innovations in children’s services. We have recently led the Department for Education funded DIMA (digital maturity) project. We have supported 22 local authorities to enable their children’s services to use the latest digital technology to support their work with children and families.
We have been testing and implementing digital innovations since 2017, including tools such as audio recording, booking systems and back-office digital processes. The goal has been to ensure any child or family that enters social care services has a digital record of their involvement.
In November 2020 the DfE commissioned AfC to share this learning with other local authorities. The DIMA project ran until March 2021 and the findings and engagement proved very interesting and useful for the children’s services sector.
Children’s services work often involves many face-to-face visits, filling in paper documents, holding large, long, complex meetings and manual sharing of information. Services have predominantly been paper-based. For example, young people and their parents often receive a paper copy of their Education, Health and Care plan, yet most of their school documents are now shared online.
The DIMA programme focused on five specific channels of digital activity:
- Culture and digital strategy
- Audio recording, for example in child protection conferences
- Replacing paper
- Remote working
- Business processes
Local authorities could choose to engage with the programme through four strands of work:
- A digital guidance document published on the AfC website which shares best practice across the five channels
- A series of animations showcasing how solutions work in reality such as using digital ambassadors, implementing digital petty cash systems and engaging staff in the digital journey
- Focused and direct working with Local Authorities to implement digital solutions such as audio recording
- Digital innovations within Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) including innovative digital case management and improved digital processes
AfC’s continued commitment
We are committed to continuing to share our learning with other local authorities.
If you want to know more about our DIMA work and how we can support your local authority in their digital journey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org