Dominic Campbell August 18, 2009

Using web 2.0 to safeguard children: an invitation to a round table discussion

Dominic Campbell

Sat watching the case of Baby Peter unfold on the television last year, as with the vast majority of you I’m sure, I was left feeling hugely saddened, frustrated and powerless to help prevent such events from ever happening again. I am not a social worker nor do I work for any one of the numerous agencies involved in the extremely complex and challenging world of child protection.

However, it did get me thinking about where I might be able to provide some support, specifically around how we might be able to draw on social technologies to contribute to safeguarding children.

Collectively, we now have significant experience and expertise in the application of social technology for business and social innovation. Whether it is concepts such as ambient intimacy, collective intelligence or forced serendipity – or alternatively the practical examples of the use of social tech to change organisations or bring communities together to collaborate, between us we have a strong and ever emerging understanding of the potential of social technology for collective social action reflected in institutional change.

Driven by this frustration, we have managed to bring together a small yet perfectly formed group of people keen to help me answer the question “so just how could we draw on the power of social technology to improve professionals’ access to information (be it structured, unstructured or ambient), break down organisational silos and help prevent further tragic events such as the death of Baby Peter?’

Today FutureGov are kicking off a project with Jasmine Ali at the Local Government Information Unit (and others keen to support our work such as Lee Bryant, Johnnie Moore, Chris Thorpe, Ian Drysdale, Carrie Bishop and Kalv Sandhu) looking at exactly that. In the first instance we are keen to better map out the current individuals, organisations and processes involved in safeguarding children, informing us about the challenges faced on a daily basis and helping us to imagine the ways in which improvement in those processes and relationships could be supported by social technology.

To start off with, we are looking to bring together multi-disciplinary group of senior managers and practitioners from childrens social services, teachers, police and health workers with social web technologist, public service designer, funders – or even just people who have a personal passion for this area – to help us design and run a small Safeguarding 2.0 pilot. Nothing big in the first instance, more a proof of concept if you like, but with the potential to transform the way in which professionals and non-professionals alike might better share information and form the kinds of relationships that might prevent future tragedies.

The kick off session itself will take place on Thursday September 10th 2009 from 17.30-19.30 at LGIU’s offices at 22 Upper Woborn Place, London WC1H 0TB.

Unfortunately we can’t guarantee that we we will be able to accommodate everybody in the event as it a relatively small roundtable for us all to fit around, but please don’t let that stop you registering your interest below or else drop me an email and we will see what we can do as we’d love to have as many people involved in getting this right and getting it going.

We would also really appreciate it if you could please pass on the details of this session to ANYONE you feel might be able to support our work.

Thank you