Published on in Public SectorNews

You’d be hard pressed to find a social worker who says it was the glamorous lifestyle that attracted them to the job. For most, the calling is one of wanting to make a difference to the lives of others.

Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) is a non-departmental public body that safeguards and promotes the welfare of children, representing them in family court cases.

Its team of social workers plays an important role in the safeguarding of children and family wellbeing. cafcassThis involves listening to the wishes and feelings of children, giving advice to family courts and making provisions for children to be represented.

It’s a crucial job, and one which can all too often go unnoticed.

The Social Worker of the Year Awards at the end of November highlighted and rewarded some of the amazing work done by social workers and of course, to prove that being a social worker shouldn’t be without recognition.

Fujitsu was very proud that Cafcass was shortlisted for five awards at this year’s ceremony – including Children’s Social Worker of the Year – and went home with a gold award for Practice Educator of the Year and a silver for Children’s Team Leader of the Year.

A history of transformation

We’ve been working with Cafcass for eight years now, delivering an end-to-end digital solution including securely digitising case files into the cloud as well as enabling remote access to those case files from laptops, tablets and smartphones for 1,700 people across 42 offices. This increased flexibility is vital for social workers for whom an average day involves working from home or court, or while en route to visit children and/or their families.

They can use their time in court more effectively too, and no longer need to lug hefty case note bundles around. More than just removing a physical burden, the electronic case management system vastly reduces the time spent on administrative work.

Putting people first

The result of all of this is a more child-centric approach.

Technology is freeing up social workers’ time, allowing more hours to be spent with the children and families who need them.

Collectively across Cafcass that’s more than 100,000 hours saved from administrative hours already – 100,000 hours that can be spent doing the kind of work that the Social Worker of the Year Awards shone a spotlight on last month.

It’s creating new ways of interacting with children too: tablets, for instance, can be used for writing and drawing together and building stronger relationships with those most in need of Cafcass’ services.

It’s a fairly simple principle, but one that requires a really positive cultural shift.

Cafcass is a great example of a public organisation that has seen the value a digital workplace can provide. Not simply in terms of cost savings (though they are considerable) but in the amount of time it can free up for staff to do the valuable work for which they’re employed.

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Steven Cox

Vice President, Fujitsu Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador at Fujitsu

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