GoogleTranslate Service

Managing information or maturing knowledge?

November 19th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

There have been a number of reports in the wake of the failure of public services to prevent the tragic death of child in London. The story below from the Guardian looks at the impact of the introduction of Management Information Services in social services in the UK. What it reveals is that professional workers are forced to spend increasing amounts of time completing tick box tracking report forms on computers. The result is not increased efficiency and effectivenesss but a failure to sharing information with those that need it. The MIS becmes the centre of attention, not the task – in this case the protecion of vulnerable children.

This is not limited to social wok. Studies we have carried out in the eduction sphere reveal the same tendency. Professional wokers are being diverted away from what they see as their job in the requirement to fill in tracking reports on ill designed Management Information Systems. The inormation held by the MIS is seen as primarily for tracking and funding pruposes. raher than helping with the work. Littlle attention is paid to how an MIS might assist in developing and maturing knowledge. Natural knowledge sharing and development processes, through dialogue and networking are left behind. Often staff develop their own informal systems, to exchange the knowledge that they need, in parallel to official procedures.

We need to review the purpose of such systems. Do we develop systems to help professional wokrers in their job or merely to collect infomation? What is the purpose of the information being collected? Who is it for and why? How can we design systems based on the abilities of ‘knowledge workers’, rather than relying on the number crunching outputs of the machine? And what approaches are need to the design of such human oriented systems? These are not just academic questions, as the report below tragically reveals.

“A government computer system intended to improve the handling of child abuse cases has led to social workers having to spend more than 100 hours for every case filling out forms, cutting the time they have to make visits.

Reports by two universities have revealed that the Integrated Children’s System (ICS), launched in 2005 following the death of Victoria Climbié, is so laborious it typically takes more than 10 hours to fill in initial assessment forms for a child considered to be at risk. A “core assessment” takes a further 48 hours on average, according to government-commissioned research by York University. The system, which cost £30m to implement, creates deadlines that further restrict the time available for family visits.”

“But the pressure on social workers, effectively tied to their desks by bureaucracy, reveals systemic problems in child protection. “Workers report being more worried about missed deadlines than missed visits,” said Professor Sue White, who is studying five child protection departments for the University of Lancaster. “The [computer] system regularly takes up 80% of their day.”

ICS replaced a system where social workers wrote case notes in narrative form, which many argue made it easier for different officials to quickly pick up the details of complex cases.

In the review by the University of York of the first authorities to adopt the system, the use of tick boxes was criticised because of “a lack of precision that could lead to inaccuracy”. It added that the system “obscured the family context”.

The level of detail demanded by ticking boxes “sacrificed the clarity that is needed to make documentation useful,” it concluded.

“If you go into a social work office today there’s no chatter, nobody is talking about the cases, it is just people tapping at computers,” said White.

One social worker interviewed by White’s team said: “I spend my day click- clicking and then I’ll get an email from someone else – say a fostering agency- asking for a bit more information on a child: ‘Could we please have a pen picture of the three children’. It’s horrendous.

“It’s impossible to get a picture of the child,” said another. “It’s all over the place on the computer system … That coupled with the number of people involved in the case makes my life very difficult.”

Eileen Monroe, an expert on child protection at the London School of Economics, said some local authorities are petitioning the government to allow them to drop the system. “The programme is set up to continually nag you, and the child’s misery just doesn’t nag as loudly.””

Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed.

  • Search

    Social Media

    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Please follow and like us:

    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Please follow and like us:

    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Please follow and like us:

    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Please follow and like us:

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

      Please follow and like us:
  • Twitter

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories