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Social workers and ipads
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# 1
AnnaLicious
Old 11-07-2012, 6:49 PM
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Default Social workers and ipads

We had a theoretical argument at work today which has left me wondering something. If you had a social worker show up at your house and he/she used an ipad, what would you think?

As in, you were doing a CAF assessment and they typed in into the form on the ipad rather than handwrite it or do it on a laptop.

Ignoring issues of security of information, just about the perception of using an ipad instead of a laptop or paper documents.

I don't know if any local authority with the money for social workers to get kitted out with these, this was just a 'modern technology' argument at work. Purely hypothetical.
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# 2
LondonDiva
Old 11-07-2012, 7:11 PM
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There aren't any issues of security, as any 'official' Ipad would used for those purpses be encrypted in the same way a work laptop would be.

My perception would be that if it wasn't an Ipad, it would be another tablet and that it is better that the social worker enters the information directly and either later print and sort, or pingto a more junior member of staff to action. The alternative is to write it up manually and then have the social worker find time to duplicate the forms later on.

If we're serious about putting scare frontline staff where they are most needed, that means using avaiable technology to streamline the reams of government issue paperwork, rather than letting a Daily Mail healdine about Ipads and images of social workers lounging about watching videos or whatever you do on an Ipad make a difficult job unneccessarily more cumbersome.
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# 3
BitterAndTwisted
Old 11-07-2012, 7:11 PM
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I can't see the difference between using a iPad and a laptop as presumably they are capable of doing the same things, even typing up a CAF assessment, whatever that is.
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# 4
delain
Old 11-07-2012, 7:19 PM
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I'd say a laptop would be perfectly sufficient.

I would though prefer some things (ie CAF forms or anything that will be referred back to or used in proceedings) written by hand and then copied, as that way no changes can be made after the event.
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# 5
jenhug
Old 11-07-2012, 7:26 PM
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if the meeting meant my child got the help they needed, I wouldn't care if they wanted to use my blood and my best bed sheets to write on!
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# 6
minimoneysaver
Old 11-07-2012, 7:29 PM
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What's wrong with using technology to get the targets of the CAF meeting down? As long as the targets are actioned, that's all that matters. If they have a specific APP which helps take down minutes of the meeting etc and a check box system, it should save time on paperwork.
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# 7
Owain Moneysaver
Old 11-07-2012, 7:51 PM
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It shouldn't be an iPad for various reasons but the use of portable IT should be routine now. It's a lot more secure, if done properly, than having paper copies of files blowing in the wind.

As far as giving a copy of the information, they can email me a PDF copy or print out a copy on the portable printer in the car.
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# 8
thebillet
Old 11-07-2012, 7:56 PM
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Anything, or nearly anything (not sure about bed sheets and blood which would be quite difficult to file let alone it sticking together) that gets SWs to complete their records on time can only be a good thing, never seen so much activity or panic when word goes out "write ups" are being checked.
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# 9
peachyprice
Old 11-07-2012, 8:14 PM
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Nope, can't see the difference between them using an ipad or laptop.

Infact I would have thought an ipad would be perferable as you can see exactly what is being written about you/your family, not so with a laptop, they could be writing anything behind the lid.
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# 10
barbarawright
Old 11-07-2012, 8:21 PM
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Surely one point of an iPad is they could also use it to look up information eg about local support services which might not be possible with a laptop if there were no wifi available. What's the problem? I know of one local authority that gives its refuse collectors iPads for similar reasons - they need to access council information and are rarely in a place with fixed net access.
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# 11
Janepig
Old 11-07-2012, 8:29 PM
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I think the DWP use something similar. I interviewed someone afew weeks ago who was in Court for benefit fraud and one of the things he said was that someone from either the DWP or the LA (regarding Housing Benefit/CT Benefit) did a home visit to him and completed a form using a tablet, I think, from the way he described it. He said that he didn't get to read the form, he was just answering the questions he was being asked, and the rep was typing them in so he didn't realise information was missing regarding his savings. Part of that might be BS because he didn't want me to think badly of him, part of it may be a misunderstanding of the process, but part of it may be truth, I'm not sure.

DH works for a neighbouring LA testing new software and hardware and the money they spend on kitting staff out with iphones and other bits and pieces is unbelievable.

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# 12
AnnaLicious
Old 11-07-2012, 8:38 PM
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Thank you everyone, that's so interesting. Part of my argument was from the financial point that my suspicion is it is cheaper at this point to purchase new and cheaper equipment than to maintain out of date laptops. I haven't done any costings so can't back this suspicion up.

One of the arguments I heard was about the perception of council workers having ipads. I didn't see the difference, as the laptops the social workers have are just as expensive. But it was all about the perception of an Apple product. What if the Daily Mail did a freedom of information request on the number of ipads in the council and so on. But we get freedom of information requests on the number of lightbulbs we use, so you can't just live in fear of a negative news story when it can potentially make front-line workers more efficient.
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# 13
geoffky
Old 11-07-2012, 9:08 PM
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Its the brain i would be interested in not the tools...
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# 14
Alikay
Old 11-07-2012, 9:11 PM
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Funny this should come up today: I'm a foster carer and I had a couple of them round today and yes, one was using a tablet device of some kind - possibly an iPad!

Personally I'm fine with it, and anything which helps with recording and sharing (obv with the right people!) of information is all good with me. We had a bit of drama going on today and things seem to have gone smoothly considering the circumstances - whether or not that is due to the capabilities of the ipad, I don't know.

Last edited by Alikay; 11-07-2012 at 9:21 PM. Reason: too much info
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# 15
tiny_courageous
Old 11-07-2012, 9:18 PM
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There's no way in hell I'd be visiting some of the areas we cover with anything expensive like an ipad, I'd be mugged within ten minutes. For the same reasoning, I drive an old battered car.

In any case, our local authority are reluctant to replace our 10 year old and falling apart mobile phones, never mind investing in modern technology!
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# 16
lozzy88
Old 11-07-2012, 9:30 PM
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I would have no problems with this, especially, if it cuts down actual paper work, it means that less paper work could go missing, get misplaced or needing done again.

Also if it ment that familys that they are there to help, get help faster and more efficiently its all a bonus
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# 17
Tupperware_Queen
Old 11-07-2012, 10:16 PM
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I work in the community with families, and from my point of view, if we were issued with laptop/ipad/a.n.other technology which allowed me to enter the data/information etc at the time, rather than have to transcribe stuff once back in the office, it would be a massive improvement. Most forms have to be completed in electronic form, so I frequently print off blank forms, to complete by hand out in the community, and have to spend ages transferring the information onto the system back at base.
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# 18
kj*daisy
Old 11-07-2012, 10:21 PM
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It would make things easier and quicker, but a lot of people think public employees should be required to write in their own blood rather than the public purse pay for the things required for them to do their jobs, let alone be given an iPad. Easier to carry around than a laptop though, so I think a good idea.
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# 19
Errata
Old 11-07-2012, 10:31 PM
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God forbid the poor bloody workers should get some decent tools for the job, I'm sure some people are dismayed they are no longer have to cart a scuttle full of coal to the office every day!
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# 20
inkie
Old 11-07-2012, 10:49 PM
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No problem with them using one. I'm a vicar and have my sermon notes on my iPad, and as I wonder around when I 'preach', it's easy to have in my hand
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