Powys council plans to scrap Welsh government IT system

A multi-million pound Welsh Government package has been so frustrating for social workers in Powys it has driven some to resign, a meeting heard.

Councilors have started discussing the possibility of abandoning the Welsh Community Care Information System.

It’s supposed to allow community nurses, mental health teams, social workers and therapists to share electronic records of patient treatment.

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Powys joined 15 other local authorities and two health boards to take over the system in April 2016, at an initial cost of £604,000, with annual costs of £91,000.

But some users have left the sector because of its difficulty of use, we learned on Friday in the Council of Ministers.

Head of Digital Services, Diane Reynolds, said: “The system has continued to have excessive downtime and accessibility issues, there remains a high risk for the authority impacting services. perform his duties.”

Despite discussions with the supplier, Ms Reynolds said no improvement in reliability had been seen

She added that last year an independent review was commissioned which recommended Powys seek a replacement system.

Clr Rachel Powell.

Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Clive Pinney explained that Bridgend County Borough Council is the main contract holder for the system.

To exit the contract, Powys would have to do so through “fault” and explain what the issues were as well as the work to try to fix them.

Mr Pinney said: ‘There have been problems for a number of years, and it’s no better than two years ago.’

Chair of the Health and Care Review Committee, Cllr Amanda Jenner feared the council could get into a long legal battle to get out of the WCCIS contract even though it has a “clear case”.

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Cllr Jenner said: ‘My advice is to weigh the potential legal costs and fully prepare a system by the end of March 2023 to avoid all of this.

“There is only one year left on the contract.”

But Mr Pinney said the contract could be extended for another four years – with Powys in part unless it “ends at fault”.

Children’s social services portfolio holder, Cllr Rachel Powell, said: “We have had social workers leave because of this, I’m relieved we’ve gotten to the stage where we’re looking for a different approach.

“We have to look at all the options.”

Adult Social Care Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said, “It’s not just about escaping a bad system, it’s about creating a good system for the future with our service users at its heart.”

Councilors voted unanimously:

  • Note the requirement for a replacement.
  • Enable digital transformation to find an effective replacement system for WCCIS.
  • And to set aside £1.2m in 2023/24 for further investigation.

Gordon K. Morehouse