Solving the data problem with In-Form

Tuesday, 3 October 2017 - 1:13pm

Each year, Caritas Anchor House support over 250 East Londoners experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet. 

Group of people at a cpnference

Caritas Anchor House delivers a wide range of services including effective key work, learning and development opportunities, and health and wellbeing services. Despite our continued hard work, we had a serious problem – managing our client data effectively.  

Our data problem

From the moment a client is referred, information about them is collected and shared. Paper notes were written, spreadsheets completed, lists compiled, emails were sent, post-it notes were attached to files, conversations were had, and it didn’t end there! Finding accurate, up-to-date information and quickly was a quest through stacks of files. Data Protection was a nightmare to manage and the process of monitoring and reporting required the tenacity of a Bulldog. The team had reached breaking point and something had to be done.  

Our mission to fix the data problem

Staff wanted to improve communication, planning and data management at Caritas Anchor House. Clients needed us to become more efficient in our everyday work in order to support them. The housing crisis was deepening and staff needed internal processes to help - not hinder them.

The Business Services Unit at Caritas Anchor House got to work and quickly identified the solution - an effective database that centralised client data and was bespoke to our needs. Homeless Link’s In-Form system was selected due to its relevance in the sector, its ease-of-use and because it was built on the Salesforce cloud platform, allowing for future development at any time.  

We worked with the In-Form team at Homeless Link, who supported us throughout with technical know-how and a deep understanding of the sector to ensure our In-Form system was aligned with our practices. Staff were ready for a change and excited by what In-Form could offer. Homeless Link trained all Caritas Anchor House’s users by explaining how to use the system and how it could support us best to improve working processes – a revolution began.

Success is possible

System launch day was met with a celebration. All previous files were archived and client data had been moved onto In-Form. Within three weeks, we had got into our stride. Recording information once, in one place soon became the norm. Transparency between teams greatly improved and it was now clear where to find the most accurate, up-to-date information on any client at any time.

Five ways In-Form has helped improve work at Caritas Anchor House:

  1. Reduced data duplication and better-skilled staff leading to increased efficiency
  2. Improved Data Protection through system security, fewer errors in processing and up-to-date information governance
  3. ‘In-Formed practice’ using streamlined business procedures, and regular monitoring. This hugely improved reporting to measure the impact of our work and allow for future planning
  4. Better fundraising and regulation from a greater understanding of achievements and challenges with seamless reporting
  5. Better relationships with others in the sector, as we are now part of a community of users with shared aims

Needless to say, this process was not all plain sailing. Through hard work and planning alongside the In-Form team, we were able to successfully build and roll-out a system to suit us.

Data has now moved from being a problem to a solution, and the Business Services Unit is now building on the success of In-Form to look at how to improve their work. Caritas Anchor House staff have an appetite for change and development, secure in the knowledge that they have safe, efficient data management.

Find out how In-Form can help your organisation

If you are interested in finding out how In-Form can help you measure your impact and solve your data problem, join us at the Case Management Made Easy event on 9 October. The Caritas Anchor House Business Services Unit will be there on the day and can give you a step by step ‘how to’ guide to make your revolution as peaceful as possible. Change is achievable.

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Victoria Palazzo

Impact Manager at Caritas Anchor House

Victoria is the Impact Manager at Caritas Anchor House, an East London charity for those experiencing homelessness, social exclusion and deprivation.