Consolidating critical data: Derbyshire County Council streamlines its children and families databases

By Peter Gothard
18 Jun 2012 View Comments
Child on a swing

Having signed a contract with services company CACI in the past few weeks to help overhaul its software and database systems as part of its 2009 Children's Transformation Programme, Derbyshire County Council is already hard at work integrating the firm's ChildView data system into its daily process.

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The chief concerns, Derbyshire County Council head of service IT Andy Callow told Computing, are maintaining tight security of such sensitive data, and making sure functionality leads specification, rather than the other way around.

"We're doing away with 25 different systems," said Callow.

"What we had was quite a legacy of a number of different software systems, the majority of which weren't on the same database, so ensuring you were looking at the full picture in terms of, say, one particular child was very difficult as it involved logging into multiple different things to try to compare [information]," said Callow.

"You could have situations, for example, where someone's recorded a nickname of somebody, and that's how they've referred to them in one system, then they've got their birth name in a different system," Callow added.

The previous systems, Callow explained, were a mish-mash of SQL-based, web-based and offline desktop systems.

Derbyshire council was overburdened with archaic database software built up over a great many years, including some originating from external providers, in-house builds programmed in .Net, Visual Basic and even Access systems

"Having that variety of information wasn't allowing the end users, our practitioners, to get the full picture of what's going on in a child's life," Callow told Computing.

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