Headlines: January 9th, 2009

A city council’s initiative to help protect vulnerable children is in line for an award for its innovative use of information technology. Bristol Council’s eCAF project has been launched to support the Common Assessment Framework designed to improve outcomes for any vulnerable child or young person.

The project is the only one run by a local authority in the South West to be shortlisted for the national eGov Awards. It is a finalist in the local e-government excellence category for proven team working or partnership activity which has delivered more than the sum of its parts.

The Assessment Framework aims to reduce duplication and to encourage agencies working with families to work together, sharing information in a simple format. The Bristol eCAF initiative was launched in April 2007 and more than 600 professionals working with children in the city are now trained to use it and to share information in a secure and effective way.

The city council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Cohesion and Raising Achievement, Peter Hammond, said the system worked seamlessly behind-the-scenes to ensure information on every vulnerable child was in a single location and easily accessible. “Without it, families at risk would have to answer the same questions to health, education or social services professionals time and time again. I’m delighted that Bristol is in the forefront to this development in child protection and I wish the team every success for the awards,” he said.

In the next stage of development eCAF will monitor exactly how services have made a positive impact on a child by measuring positive outcomes such as measuring the reduction of any risks.