We have recently completed Phase 1 of the mobile working roll out for Stockport Family, where 130 Social Workers and School Age Plus Workers were provided with touch screen tablets with on board 4G SIM for using on the go as well as in the office.

Two training sessions were provided to staff covering tablet functionality and the ethos of mobile working. Dedicated IT support was provided in the sessions which ensured a smooth transition into using the new equipment.

Workers traded in their old kit and were provided with a new tablet and desk set up. The old kit was rebuilt and then redistributed amongst Stockport Family teams.

Our new Fresh Service IT support system allows staff to report and track IT issues online. If faults occur a ‘Hot Swap’ process is in place which provides mobile workers with a replacement working tablet, cutting out time spent waiting for repairs.

‘Learning Circle’ Meetings have been set up for staff as a platform to explore the new way of working, help build capability with the technology and share best practice across Stockport Family teams.

We anticipated that the new devices and systems would save time by alleviating the need to travel back to the office to complete work as well as increasing the speed in which assessments are completed. To monitor this, a staff survey was conducted 1 month after the rollout of the new equipment, covering staff confidence levels of using tablets, technology on the go and the benefits of using the tablet. It was also useful to identify the effectiveness of training, gaps in knowledge and provide an indication if the benefits have been realised.

 

Saving Time

54% of staff strongly agreed, along with a further 33% agreeing that the tablet has saved them time in their working day.

I have been able to write up case notes straight away instead of waiting for an office slot in my diary, which can be up to two weeks later. This has allowed me to be more efficient and keep on top of my workload.

Use in meetings

Between 54 – 69% of staff reported that they very often to often use the tablet to record minutes, update EIS and look up information whilst in meetings.

Typing minutes and making notes directly on the tablet saves me time having to type up hand written notes later.

It allows me to work more efficiently and to save time. As I am active in the community all day I can now work in between visits and type up case notes rather than waiting until an allocated slot in my diary for office time to complete paperwork. This allows my case history to be more accurate and up to date on a regular basis.

Recording case notes

46% of staff said that they now very often update EIS when not in the office.

Being able to write notes into EIS anywhere, means that I can find a quiet space to work if needed.

Staff confidence

33% of workers strongly agreed that they were confident in using the mobile tablet, with a further 49% saying they agreed this was the case.

The confidence of staff in using the new equipment can be attributed to a very successful training and rollout programme with good IT support.

92% of workers strongly agreed or agreed that the Level of training they received was sufficient to allow them to use the tablet straight away. 94% of workers strongly agreed or agreed that they received a good level of support from IT during the initial rollout of the tablets.

I think the new tablets are brilliant….. I feel my confidence is increasing. Being given the new tablet has made me feel valued in my role and I feel it is helping me to do my job better.

Interaction with families

There has been positive feedback from partners and from mobile workers about the value the new tablets have for the families they are helping:

The children have really enjoyed completing the work on the tablet and have asked me to email it home.

Staff at Stockport School have commented on how good it is and that it allows us to work together more effectively as I have access to our database and case records so am able to chase enquires there and then instead of waiting for me to get back to them.

During home visits I have been able to show the local offer page to families and talk through each service that is available in Stockport whereas before I would just write down the link. I have also been out and completed EHA with families who find it difficult to come into the office.

Next steps

We are continually capturing and measuring the benefits from Phase 1 which will include further surveys, 6 months and 1 year after the roll out, quarterly performance measurement and direct work with children.

There will also be ongoing learning for workers in ‘Learning Circles’ which will help embed the culture of mobile working and be a way of disseminating knowledge around this to the wider teams.

Using the learnings and experience gained from working with Social Workers and School Age Plus teams in Phase 1, we will be heading into Phase 2 where a further cohort of Stockport Family Workers will be moved onto the Mobile Working platform and all the benefits that come with it.