April 24, 2017 was a breakthrough day for the Signs of Safety approach. On that day in Islington London, together with Servelec HSC, the first fully specified Signs of Safety information management system was launched and is now available for local authorities to purchase and use.
The system’s forms embed all the of the Signs of Safety practice, assessment and planning elements, from intake through to closure. Comprehensive Signs of Safety practice guidance is also embedded throughout. Since the Servelec system is built in the English context, the system is also fully compliant with English legislative and statutory returns requirements.
Drawing on practice development work in England and The Netherlands over the past five years, the Servelec Signs of Safety system is also applicable across the entire practice continuum, since it incorporates the Signs of Wellbeing and Signs of Success approaches. This means the IT system can be used in family support and children-in-care work, as well as child protection practice. As far as we know, this is the very first time a children’s services information management system has been built around a practice approach, rather than fashioned around an information gathering framework.
Having been constructed around the practice approach, the Signs of Safety IT system equips practitioners to undertake precise information gathering, move promptly to analysis and then into action through the safety, success and wellbeing planning methods. This action orientation addresses the problem of excessive information gathering that bedevils child protection practice.
We have known for many years that what practitioners are required to record and count becomes what counts (what is considered important). But what is counted often doesn’t count in delivering positive outcomes for children and their families. Being grounded in the logics of the Signs of Safety practice approach, and with the incorporation of the Signs of Safety Dashboards and Collaborative Case Audit tools, the Signs of Safety IT system provides practitioners, team leaders and managers with the tools to analyse practice and understand how what they are doing connects to better outcomes. In this way, the Signs of Safety IT system delivers on the Signs of Safety Meaningful Measures project by providing an IT system that ‘counts’ (organises and analyses information) in a way that is meaningful for practitioners as well as managers.
With the launch of the Signs of Safety IT system, Signs of Safety consultants anywhere in the world can now offer any child protection organisation the forms, experience and IT partners that are needed to implement a Signs of Safety IT system for their agency. This will enable the agency to create a recording environment where workers can use the Signs of Safety approach, fully supported by an IT system that workers will want to use because it helps them do their direct work with families.
Munro, Turnell and Murphy Child Protection Consultancy are also working with a second English social care IT provider, liquidlogic, to create a Signs of Safety IT system for the liquidlogic platform which will be released before the end of the year.