Caring for a community
How Norfolk County Council uses Cygnum to schedule and communicate with its carers across the county
Scheduling large numbers of workers is a difficult task for any organisation, but when the end users of your services are reliant upon your smooth running for vital care services, the task of scheduling and communication with employees comes with added importance.
This case study looks at how Norfolk County Council uses Cygnum, from CACI, to power the scheduling of its care network, Norfolk First Response. We spoke to Denise Forder, head of service at Norfolk First Response and Kate Saunders, business support manager with Norfolk First Response.
Norfolk County Council started using Cygnum in October 2017. “Previously, setting things up and implementing any changes meant lots of phone calls backwards and forwards,” explains Denise. “Whenever you’re relying on that, there are several errors that can occur. Someone writes it down and gives it to someone else and suddenly you’ve got a mix up in the communication. Bringing everything and everyone onto a single system has alleviated a lot of this for us.” Denise Forder, Head of Service, Norfolk First Response
Norfolk County Council needed a system that would provide consistency from a single source of truth, helping to reduce instances of human error and proving straightforward to operate across the userbase. “The ease of use was a major factor,” says Denise.
“People come in and out of our services frequently; there is a lot of change,” explains Kate. “We can have five or six new people coming in every day, with five or six going out. Previously we had to phone the workers and then we had a cascade system: we’d phone the first person who was due to go in and so forth. The problem was that connectivity in Norfolk isn’t very good, so it was an issue just getting hold of people.” Kate Saunders, Business Support Manager, Norfolk First Response
Acting as a central data repository, Cygnum offers Norfolk County Council a 360-degree view of their care services and how they are delivered. Their centrally located management team can keep track of where their carers are, who needs their services and where any gaps are appearing in their service. Using Cygnum’s mobile app extension, inTOUCH, Norfolk County Council can dynamically send schedules and messages to its carers, whilst receiving back completed forms and updates from them whilst out in the field.
Cygnum enables Norfolk County Council to schedule and communicate with care workers to ensure the continued smooth running of its key services.
Implementing a new solution
“One of our biggest problems was the fact that a lot of our support workers had never used technology before,” says Kate. “Getting our support workers to use technology was challenging – the culture change was huge.
“New staff coming in who didn’t know the old service picked it up and got on with it straight away. They took to it easily, certainly far more easily than existing staff. Some of the negativity from frontline managers impacted on some of the support workers, but generally they have been a lot more receptive to the change.” Kate Saunders, Business Support Manager, Norfolk First Response
“Most of them love it now!” adds Denise. “When we have down time, everyone freaks out a bit which shows how well the software has integrated with our services.” Denise Forder, Head of Service, Norfolk First Response
Planning and scheduling
A lot of Norfolk County Council’s care work is planned and using the wallchart functionality in Cygnum it can auto-allocate schedules for its carers and communicate this with them via InTouch.
“We roster 380 staff though Cygnum,” says Denise. “We do auto-allocation of rosters with manual intervention where holidays or sickness occur. This has been easy and we put the information into Cygnum and it is received as a message by the staff member via inTOUCH, which is where Cygnum really comes into its own for us. It can take a bit of time to get right, but it’s absolutely worth it because it results in high quality, reliable information for us and our staff.” Denise Forder, Head of Service, Norfolk First Response
“I’ve got two managers who absolutely hated the idea of Cygnum initially but are now evangelists for it!” adds Kate. “It has made a real difference to the way in which we can work.” Kate Saunders, Business Support Manager, Norfolk First Response
Norfolk started using Cygnum in October 2017, meaning that around 5750 people had been through its services by March 2020. Over 700 care practitioners had been assigned over 100,000 action points in relation to Norfolk’s care services in that time, too.
- Care plans: keeping a track of what care is needed, down to individual tasks for service users, is vital for an empathetic and effective service. Norfolk uses Cygnum’s care plan to do this, ensuring that service user preferences, needs and timings are always understood and considered
- Scheduling: Based on service users’ needs, Norfolk’s care workers are scheduled in the right place, at the right time, using Cygnum’s powerful matching functionality
- Mobile working: via Cygnum’s mobile app extension, inTOUCH, Norfolk can publish the schedule and communicate with its care workers in real time
- Management information: Norfolk uses Cygnum’s reporting tools to keep a track of how its service is performing