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The background

The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) is committed to raising standards in the social work and social care workforce by registering social workers and social care workers, setting the benchmark for their conduct and practice and supporting continuous professional development in a sector that employs over 41,000 people.

In tandem with NISCC's own efforts to modernise the Public Facing Register of social workers and social care workers registered to work in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health NI has recently outlined its plans to reboot adult social care and support via its Power to People report.

To achieve NISCC's modernisation goals - and in order to address the challenges identified by the Department of Health around data management, resource tracking and an aging population - NISCC engaged Silverbear to deliver a digital transformation programme that would support real-time analysis of the sector's demographics at any given time via Microsoft's Dataverse.

The project

Originally intended as a system upgrade, it became apparent that any improvement of its existing platform would not support the functionality required by NISCC or help the organisation develop in line with its strategic goals.

Prior to engaging Silverbear, NISCC had managed its entire membership database using multiple systems for different areas of the organisation. Registrant certification had also been managed manually, which involved hard copy printing, high paper usage and expensive postage costs attributable to 41,000 people.

Furthermore, old technology that was slow to register members' changes and difficult to adapt to new legislative and operational demands meant that long lead times were required to make minor structural changes and improvements.

Using Silverbear's flagship solution, Silverbear 365, NISCC carried out full data migrations from across every element of the organisation, which enabled it to have real-time visibility of its entire registry and analyse data by any demographic at any time.

Silverbear 365's functionality also enabled NISCC to replace paper-based applications with an online process that supported instant certification. Despite working to a tight budget, Silverbear 365's adaptability meant that any functionality requests could be applied to the platform quickly, easily and without the need for major structural changes, which saved a significant amount of resource.

After working collaboratively since 2017, and following a series of user acceptance tests, NISCC's new CRM system went live on 9 July 2018.

The result

Since becoming operational, Silverbear Membership has enabled NISCC to:

  • Better manage its CRM functionality across all aspects of the organisation including annual fee management, registration renewal applications, SharePoint document integration, Fitness to Practice case management and registrant and employer self-service portals
  • Become an industry authority on the social care landscape in Northern Ireland; NISCC is currently the only organisation with access to up-to-date information on the social care workforce, which is helping government to shape policy and gain a better understanding of the sector
  • Make savings by issuing registrant certificates digitally and immediately instead of manually printing and sending them by post
  • Remove a 3,000-strong application backlog by moving from a paper-based application process to an online system
  • Simplify the registration process via its new digital portal and remove any lag associated with updates and changes made by its users; updates are immediately reflected within the platform instead of having to wait five hours for databases to synchronise
  • Better engage its user network by delivering a user interface that can be accessed via any digital device
  • Consolidate all datasets, which means that staff no longer need to learn to use multiple platforms and systems or work from multiple datasets
  • Add value to its database by providing an enhanced reporting facility
  • Deliver more services, at a faster rate than before, with the same size team due to improved automation and integration
  • Add value to registrants' employers, who now have immediate access to information needed as part of their own personnel requirements
  • Set the UK standard when it comes to the gathering and analysis of social care data, and become a model of excellence from which England, Scotland and Wales can learn

Silverbear 365 has allowed us to build a bespoke system entirely around our needs, with only a few minor tweaks, which has resulted in significant outcomes. In terms of leadership, commitment and knowledge, our partnership working with Silverbear has been a very positive, innovative and dynamic experience.

Declan McAllister

Director of Registration and Corporate Services, NISCC

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