03 April 2019

Proposals to invest £1.5m to improve critical children and adult social care IT systems are set to be discussed by Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet next week.

The current system being used to record and track all social care cases for vulnerable children and adults is now 14-years-old and there are concerns that it is not keeping pace with the changing social care needs of the county.

It is now proposed to invest £1.5m to replace the old version of the CareFirst system to make it more streamlined and effective at reporting, tracking and analysis freeing up front line social workers to focus on their role helping children and adults.

Cabinet member for Children’s Services Fiona Baker said:


“It is hard to overstate just how critical this system is. This holds all the information we have about the interactions we have with some of our county’s most vulnerable residents. This information is used to make crucial decisions about the care these people require.”

Cabinet member for Adult Social Services Cllr Sandra Naden-Horley said:


“The current system is in urgent need of being replaced. It is 14 years old and the needs of social care have changed so much in that time. A new system will give us improved information to help people making decisions about people’s care needs and will also work more seamlessly with other systems like those used by the NHS, meaning people’s time is freed up to focus on their front-line activity.”

The report to be discussed by cabinet outlines the risks associated with the current system. These include:

  • The system is difficult to interrogate and draw out key facts that are relevant to decision making about care and support
  • The system is not easy to use and very clunky, meaning recording information takes too long with the current assessment forms up to 29 pages long

The report goes on to outline the key benefits of investing in a new system:

  • A simplified process based on best practice to give social workers more time to focus on social work
  • Much better integration with other systems
  • Will support the proposed transition required to unitary councils
  • Improved productivity through using new technology allowing flexible working

The report, which will be discussed by cabinet at their meeting on April 9 at 2pm, outlines how £1.5m from the Council’s capital budget would be used to pay for the new system.