Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
In preparation for the establishment of a new SENDIAS service, the management of Children's Services at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead decided they needed a new case management system. After listening to recommendations and conducting a full review, they selected Crossdata. Staff and clients are now reaping the benefits.
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council is the local authority of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. The Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service for Windsor and Maidenhead (formerly the Parent Partnership Service) provides impartial information, advice and support relating to special educational needs and disability (SEND). The service is a free and confidential service, provided at "arm's length" from education, health and care providers.
The passing of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the new SEND Code of Practice has had profound ramifications for local authority Parent Partnerships. These Partnerships have been renamed as Information, Advice and Support (IAS) services and a number of new obligations and responsibilities have been placed on them.
The increased responsibilities have placed increased demands on the client records systems, forcing IAS services to evaluate whether their systems were going to be capable of meeting the new requirements. At Windsor & Maidenhead (W&M) it became rapidly apparent that the existing Access-based database simply would not be fit for the purpose of meeting the increased demands. A search for a new cloud-based service began in earnest.
The W&M IAS team added Crossdata to their short list after listening to recommendations from staff in other IAS services. "Colleagues in other services mentioned that they were already using the Crossdata system and were delighted with the service" recalls SEND IAS Officer Alistair Hines. "The functionality clearly related closely to our needs."
Once the IASS team were satisfied that Crossdata was the system that they needed, their recommendations were passed on to the relevant department within the local authority with a view to formally assessing Crossdata's suitability.
"As you can imagine, the Local Authority procurement process isn't normally that simple, particularly in relation to ICT security, which is almost always priority number one" explains Alistair. "Holding data on anything other than internal local authority systems requires a very high amount of scrutiny. I was sent a questionnaire to complete in conjunction with Crossdata, who couldn't have been more helpful in to explaining their security measures. I was sent copies of all relevant certificates, cope of service etc. This meant that within three months of speaking to our ICT team, they had evaluated the evidence, submitted and approved the system and given it a high scoring for security. Our ICT team were equally impressed that Crossdata were willing to create a 2-factor authentication system after it was suggested by them as something required to use the system outside of our office.
"Once we had the OK from our ICT team the procurement process really couldn't have been simpler, as the system is competitively priced and well below the OJEU procurement thresholds, or even our own internal W&M thresholds for that matter."
The W&M IAS service are now benefiting from a GDPR compliant system that can be securely accessed outside of the main office. As Crossdata is a "cloud-based" service the team are now spared the frustrating delays in retrieving critical data from their local authority server. There are no more onerous hosting, backup, or connectivity issues to contend with.
Service provision has been enhanced through better data management. All required information can now be viewed at any time. Crossdata provides integrated client histories, activity schedules and the ability to report on everything recorded. Future actions can now be scheduled rather than simply recording completed actions.
Processes have now been radically streamlined. The easy-to-use, intuitive system simplifies tasks, automates processes, and avoids duplication. The proprietary service can take advantage of useful features developed for similar customers over a 10 year period.