The latest Agilisys Podcast focuses on how Family Support – an organisation that gives families and children access to the help and support they need faster – is using an app called Family Quest to drive continuous quality improvements of its case file audit process.

The app, developed in partnership by Agilisys and Family Support, can be implemented within social care settings to simplify case audit procedures and evidence a high-quality process that includes continuous learning.

In the podcast, we were joined by Cat Miller, Service Manager at Family Support, who shared her thoughts on how the app has benefited the organisation. Here’s a round-up of the discussion, which can be listened to in full here.

How did the Family Quest app come about?

“We originally used Microsoft Forms, which had a lot of limitations. If you were completing an audit you had to do the whole thing in one go – you couldn’t stop halfway through, save it and come back at a later date. That was a key issue and it was clear we needed something more intuitive, something that we could develop ourselves in terms of what we needed from auditing, and make it a more collaborative process.

“Being clear on the domains and the information we needed, a lot of which was in line with Ofsted requirements, was key to making sure that it all fitted together, which was quite a detailed piece of work. There’s five different domains and each domain has got 10 indicators, all of which needs to be populated and understood. What makes something good? And what makes it outstanding? That needs to be very clear for people that are auditing. With this information in mind, we worked with Agilisys to develop Family Quest.”

What are the benefits of Family Quest?

“Quest gives you the overview of your service performance, so you can quickly pick up any issues that are being flagged. For example, if the safeguarding information that’s coming through is flagged as requires improvement, you know that you need to focus a lot of your training and development with your staff in that particular area.

“It also gives you quick access for any sort of case studies that you want. If Ofsted arrived on your doorstep, at very short notice, you can quickly just go in and drill down and get the information that they need. If they said they needed five case studies on the theme of mental health it’s just really easy to go in and find and locate them, which is a real bonus when Ofsted come in.

“The link into a Power BI dashboard is really key as well, because that gives you all that kind of rich visual data that makes information much easier to understand. It gives you a standardised approach to safeguarding so one person doesn’t look at it differently to another person.”

How did Quest help Family Support deal with COVID-19?

“It’s an ideal resource, because it’s easy to use remotely and beginning of the lockdown, nearly all of our staff are working remotely. Plus, because of the overview provided by the dashboard, we can decide if we need to reduce the amount of audits or increase them, depending on any number of staff off sick with COVID at one time, so it’s flexible.

“You can also amend the themes of audits, so you can add or take things away, depending on your organisational needs. If we put into Quest a theme of COVID related issues, then we can drill down and if Ofsted arrives, and they want to see audits where COVID has become an issue, we can easily find them.”

In what ways is Quest helping Family Support to enhance its work?

“It’s great that you can record the evidence centrally. And this information is in real time, so anyone at any time can look and see how your service is performing. I think it’s also a bit of a safeguard, so you know that when Ofsted come, you’ve got this system that means you’re not going to be scrambling around at the last minute to find information.

“As well as the flexibility that I mentioned earlier, you can set deadlines, you can look at the different actions that have been suggested as part of the audit and track progress. This has been really helpful for performance management across the service.

“The other really neat thing that Quest does is automatically generates the PDF case file audit reports, which can be stored on the child’s file. That’s really important for quality assurance.”

Have team members been keen to embrace Quest?

“Uptake has really been positive, helped by the fact there were only a few minor snags that were easily ironed out. Essentially, it’s just down to training. We delivered a very light touch training workshop to staff, just so they could know a little bit about Quest, why we’re using it and how they use it.

“I set out five easy steps with the staff about what to do when you get that email that tells you you’ve had an audit, because the person that’s being audited needs to respond. Staff have liked it, because they they’re able to add their comments for the person auditing, which is really useful. I think they appreciate that it’s a collaborative process.

“During the build we got managers to trial it with their practitioners for about six weeks. We then just looked at what the snags were and what was coming up, what was problematic. Then we just got back to Agilisys who made the necessary tweaks. In that that sense, the team has been involved throughout, and that helps adoption.”

In addition to the podcast, a case study detailing how Agilisys worked with Family Support to develop Quest can be downloaded here.

More information on Quest and the work of Family Support can be found here.