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Integrated Children's System

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 392W, on the Integrated Children's System, (1) who was responsible for the Quality Protects Management Information project when the Integrated Children's System requirements were developed; how many (a) local authority officers and (b) frontline social workers were consulted at each stage of development; which commercial suppliers of children's social care systems were consulted; with which contracted specialists his Department collaborated; and if he will publish the correspondence between his Department and commercial suppliers connected with the Integrated Children's System; (282022)

(2) how many meetings there were with (a) local authorities and (b) front-line social workers in developing the requirements for local authorities to procure systems from IT suppliers to support delivery of the model.

[holding answer 24 June 2009]: The Quality Protects Management Information project was the responsibility of the then Secretary of State for Health when the original Integrated Children's System (ICS) requirements were developed between 2001 and 2003.

10 consultation events were held in 2000 with over 500 representatives from organisations responsible for child welfare in England and Wales, including local authority social services departments, private and voluntary agencies, the then Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work, pilot post-qualifying child care courses, software houses, and a number of other interested individuals. Two additional events in Wales drew together an inter-agency audience in the context of the Children First programme. As part of the consultation exercise, specific groups consulted included foster carers, children, young people, families with disabled children and families from ethnic minority groups. Information on exactly how many meetings were held with either local authorities or frontline social workers or on how many local authority officers and frontline social workers were consulted at each stage of development is not available.

Following this exercise, the Department of Health (DH) published the conceptual framework for ICS as a consultation document (“Integrated Children's System: Working with Children in Need and Their Families”) addressed to Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (CSSRs) in December 2002. DH and the Welsh Assembly Government addressed a further consultation document (“Information Outputs for Children's Social Services A Conceptual Framework”) to CSSRs in March 2003.

The commercial systems suppliers consulted by DH were OLM, Anite, Careworks, and TCO. Anite's ICS interests were purchased in 2008 by Northgate; TCO was acquired in 2005 by CACI.

Following machinery of Government changes in 2003, the Department for Children, Schools and Families took responsibility for ICS. Capgemini consultants were contracted by DCSF to conduct a readiness review of local authorities' ICS preparedness in 2006. These consultants were then retained to prepare industry-standard requirements documentation, in response to feedback from local authorities during the review.

Correspondence with IT suppliers contracting for ICS systems is the responsibility of those individual local authorities which either are, or might wish to become, their customers. The Department's direct relations with these suppliers concern product assessment activities undertaken to assist local authorities in light of the readiness review. The results of these assessments have all been published on the Department's website at

under the heading "Supplier compliance summary". Other exchanges antecedent to the published assessments are covered by non-disclosure agreements, as they relate to commercially-sensitive information concerning product compliance and performance.