Back to top

Stories of Change - Patchwork

Author: Kine Nordstokka
Published Date: 18 May 2015

At SIX we think it is important to tell stories where social innovation has impacted people’s lives for the better. Our Stories of Change series tells you the stories that inspire us from around the world.

Patchwork
is a safeguarding app for frontline staff working with children, vulnerable adults and troubled families.

Key facts

  • Originally created in the UK, and replicated in Australia in 2013.
  • 261 agencies in Australia and 33 agencies in the UK use Patchwork.
  • 1,894 professionals are currently supporting 5,375 clients with the Patchwork App, which is enabling a higher quality of care, safeguarding of vulnerable clients and increasing the productivity for frontline staff.


Why?


Patchwork was designed by FutureGov founder Dominic Campbell in the wake of the tragic death of Baby Peter; a 17- month old boy who died after months of abuse despite visits from authorities. After watching a documentary about Baby Peter, Dominic Campbell was astounded that this would be possible at a time when the general public can be so connected to each other, yet the way we provide public services are so fragmented that these tragedies are able to occur. How could Baby Peter die when there had been so many social care workers in his life?

Patchwork is a web-based communication tool, which reveals the network of frontline practitioners caring for a client. It is creating a ‘social network-like’ environment around an individual, so that outside agencies, GPs, local authority practitioners, education services and other health practitioners can see who else is working with the child or family in question, and get in touch with queries or comments. Frontline staff log on to the web-based system and enter the name of a client. They immediately see which other agencies and professionals are supporting their client and are alerted to the best way to communicate with them.

The impact

Better outcomes: When a practitioner knows who the whole team working with their client is, it’s much easier to co-ordinate their efforts, before a situation escalates and requires an intervention. Ultimately, getting the right people involved earlier leads to a better outcome for the individual.

Quality of care: In connecting different practitioners around a child or family that they are working with, Patchwork can lead to better, more complete decisions and earlier interventions. Practitioners can express concerns and add comments and observations, all without sharing confidential case information.

Productivity: Patchwork can save time for frontline staff, avoiding the need to spend time calling around to find out who is dealing with a child or family. It can help to build relationships between health and social care agencies and enable the prevention of problems developing and worsening.

Safeguarding: It is not always easy for practitioners to alert one another about niggling concerns that they have about a client, especially when they don’t feel like they have solid proof. Patchwork allows practitioners to flag to one another when they feel that a client needs extra attention. If two people flag the same client, then action is required.