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Case study: better use of local authority resources

How the Child Protection - Information Sharing project is helping health and social care staff to share information and better protect society's most vulnerable children.

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Health and social care staff need to share information to help them provide better care and earlier interventions for children who are considered vulnerable and at risk.

There are 152 local authorities and more than 1,200 unscheduled healthcare settings in England (such as emergency departments, walk-in centres, and maternity units) using more than 75 different computer systems.

The Child Protection - Information Sharing project (CP-IS) is connecting these systems and helping sites to improve business processes so essential information can be shared securely.

Impact of CP-IS

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council went live with CP-IS in March 2015. Approximately 262,000 children and young people under the age of 18 live in Hertfordshire (23% of the county's population). In August 2015, 721 of these children and young people were subject to a child protection plan and 1,033 children were looked after by Hertfordshire County Council.

We talked to Liz Peters, Hertfordshire County Council's Safeguarding and Child Review Lead, to learn about the benefits the local authority is seeing from CP-IS.

"CP-IS has been a real driver behind improving our data quality. CP-IS requires us to upload details about all of the children in our care that are either looked after or subject to a child protection plan, including plans for unborn children. This information can then be shared with clinical staff in unscheduled healthcare settings to help them make more informed decisions. At the same time, CP-IS notifies us if and when any of our children present for unscheduled treatment anywhere in England.

"For this to work, the information we upload needs to be consistent and accurate - something which CP-IS has really helped us to achieve. Previously, we would send paper lists of child protection information to the neighbouring health providers every month. Before doing so, we would need to check each list was up-to-date because in some instances there would be up to 100 cases that were inaccurate in some way. The data cleansing exercise would often take up to two days to complete.

"Because information is fed into CP-IS automatically on a daily basis, it has given real momentum to improving and maintaining our data quality. Data cleansing exercises have reduced from two days to just one hour and our accuracy is estimated to be 95% at minimum and typically better.

"CP-IS removes the need to search for and provide information manually and by phone, freeing up our resources to apply elsewhere."
Liz Peters,
Safeguarding and Child Review Lead, Hertfordshire County Council

"The automatic nationwide sharing of data in a standard format reduces unwarranted variation and simplifies our decisions about what information we need to share and when. We've found that it removes the need to search for and provide information manually and by phone, freeing up our resources to apply elsewhere."

  • CP-IS builds a picture of a child's attendances at unscheduled care settings anywhere in England.
  • CP-IS helps to improve data quality by using the NHS number as the unique identifying number.
  • With CP-IS, less time is spent searching for and providing information, freeing up resources to apply elsewhere.
  • CP-IS information is available 24/7 and shared with the right people at the right time to enhance safeguarding.

CP-IS is currently being introduced to local authorities and unscheduled healthcare settings across England.

For more information, please go to NHS Digital.

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Last edited: 27 August 2020 10:55 am