Staffordshire County Council Lowers Costs and Saves Time for its Busy Social Workers
Me Learning’s Online Training Provides Improved Learning and Support
[UKPRwire, Fri Apr 03 2009] Me Learning, a specialist provider of online training for the social care sector, today announced it has signed a three-year contract with Staffordshire County Council to provide tailored and branded online training courses, a learning management system and ongoing consultation and support to its 700-strong workforce of social workers and other agency workers involved in the care of children.
Staffordshire Council’s introduction of ICS software to a broad workforce forms part of its wider Project Pisces, which aims to follow the latest protocols laid out by the Government’s DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ programme. The Council realises the importance of providing additional training and support – a key issue also raised by Lord Laming in his March 2009 progress report - to ensure its workforce of social workers and other agency workers involved in the care of children are correctly recording information onto their SAP case management system. However the main challenge facing Staffordshire has been the sheer numbers of staff that need to be trained and the geographic dispersion of the large county.
Staffordshire has mainly used classroom-based training or one-to-one training in the past, so online training is a new concept to the team, but made sense as a more flexible way of learning that would enable faster training of a large workforce, while negating the need to travel.
Nicola Gibson, ICS Project Manager of Staffordshire County Council commented: “Me Learning’s demonstration showed us the high quality of their training material and their in-depth knowledge of social work. The courses are very intuitive, simple to use and the interactivity engages the user, which is a rare quality in training materials. The courses also take a holistic view, ensuring the user understands everything that underpins ICS from an overall children’s services perspective. I was surprised at the low associated costs, considering the course quality and the high level of involvement from Me Learning.”
After close consultation with Staffordshire, Me Learning split its 33 online learning modules into seven learning programme certifications for the County, tailoring the courses along the way to the needs of every user type. After passing a course, the learner is awarded an ICS online learning certificate that can be added to their portfolio of evidence, which they are required to develop over the course of two years so they can be re-registered as social workers. Me Learning has deployed its Silver LMS (Learning Management System), enabling Heads of Service to monitor training levels and to provide Staffordshire with evidence that its social care professionals are receiving the necessary training.
Nick Richards, Head of Business Development, Me Learning, said: “Staffordshire has paved the way as the first Local Authority to use online training for ICS as part of a structured programme of training. Staffordshire recognised that to achieve a consistent understanding and standard practice of their new
ICS software across the county to iron out regional variations would require consistent training, which is much more achievable with an online learning programme, where mass numbers of users can receive the same training material and methodology, and at the same time.”
Gibson concluded: “Initial results have been astounding in terms of the speed of the roll-out to such a large dispersed workforce, the high uptake level of over 75% and the ease of management. Choosing online instead of classroom-based training has reduced our costs significantly in terms of time saved and negated travel.”
About Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire County Council is the largest employer in Staffordshire with more than 30,000 staff. Employees range from teachers to engineers, scientists to social workers, all of whom work to provide Staffordshire’s 800,000 residents with services.
The services the council provides include:
• the local education service, with responsibility for around 400 schools
• social services, including fostering and adoption and services for older people
• trading standards
• highways, with responsibility for maintaining the county’s road system and street lighting
• waste disposal and many more.
Politically there are 62 councillors who are elected every four years.
More information about the Council can be found at www.staffordshire.gov.uk.
About Me Learning
Me Learning provides Local Authorities with online training tools to ensure all professionals involved in social care are fully informed, working together and following the latest national guidelines, protocols and legislation. Me Learning’s government-compliant and engaging computer-based courses cut through the ever-changing red tape, providing an all encompassing future-proof resource to help social care professionals continue to carry out their roles effectively and cooperatively.
The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for both children and adults with additional needs. Lord Laming conducted the Climbié inquiry in 2003 to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of Victoria Climbié and to recommend action to prevent such a tragedy happening again. However, in April 2008 Lord Laming commented: “I have yet to be convinced there is uniformly good practice across the country.” Furthermore, government regulator the General Social Care Council (GSCC) has suggested social workers need further training post-qualification to deal with an increasing number of “complex and risky” cases such as Baby P, for which they needed greater expertise.
Me Learning provides both off-the-shelf and tailored courses covering key elements of the Government’s ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ programme run by the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families). It is the only provider of online training courses for two of the leading ICS (Integrated Children’s System) software suppliers: OLM and Liquidlogic. 12% of the UK’s Local Authorities are already using Me Learning’s cost-efficient courses, ranging from Essex County Council’s purchase of the MePROTOCOL ICS suite for its own ICS roll-out to over 1,200 staff, to Manchester City Council’s purchase of Me Learning’s Information Sharing and ContactPoint courses to train 3000 people on the ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ programme.
More information can be found at www.melearning.co.uk or by calling us on 01273 455 194.
The Me Learning courses are split into two types: those for training social care workers in the use of their Local Authority’s social care systems; and those that support the key elements of the Government’s Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme by providing the latest national guidelines, protocols and legislation, which all people involved in social care need to be aware of.
For Social Care Workers:
- Integrated Children’s System (ICS) Training: ICS is designed to be supported by an electronic case record system which provides a complete view of children in their care and forms the basis of every social care practitioner’s working processes. Typically, although staff may receive training on the operation of a new system, they are not always fully conversant with the ICS process itself. Me Learning has therefore developed a comprehensive suite of online training courses to both educate social care workers and relevant support staff in the ICS processes and show how to correctly record information in the case record system.
- Adult Care Training: Me Learning provides training to support OLM’s CareFirst and Liquidlogic’s PROTOCOL IAS adults software.
For all agencies involved in social care including social care workers:
- Every Child Matters Training: The courses for all professionals involved in social care are based on key elements of the Government’s ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ programme, which aims to encourage integrated working among agencies and enable early intervention and improvement for children with additional needs. There are also plans for a national database, ContactPoint, with the aim of aiding integrated working. Ensuring relevant staff are fully conversant with the process, policies and legislation will ultimately help towards preventing the current spate of deaths from known child abuse cases. Me Learning’s Every Child Matters (Me ECM) courses ensure all agencies understand the processes and legislation that shape social care in the UK and how they personally fit into the integrated working process. Courses include: Information Sharing, ContactPoint, Lead Professional and CAF (Common Assessment Framework).