On 5 November, Hounslow Children’s Centres bade farewell to EStart – a database that we had been using for over 10 years – and switched on Synergy. Given that this was such a significant change, it is not surprising that the seeds were first sown about two years ago, when we began looking for an alternative to eStart. This eventually grew into a much larger project, with several other services such as the Family Services Directory and Primary Admissions also joining.
The timetable for the implementation of Synergy took account of each service’s key dates and as a result, Children’s Centres were the first to go live. This was the culmination of many hours of work with Synergy and the ICT team, which took us through a number of different processes. These covered service design; customising the system to meet the needs of our business; the migration of over 10 years of data from eStart and training.
One of the main advantages of Synergy for our service, is that it will enable us to digitalise many of our processes that were paper-based. As it is a case management system, it will also enable us to review all of our existing systems, so that they provide a better service for our families, partner organisations and other teams within the Council. Looking forward, the real potential of Synergy lies in the benefits that could result from the use of the system by a number of teams within the Council and its integration with other systems such as LCS and EHM. This is a really exciting prospect and makes all of the hard work completely worthwhile.
I would like to thank Hannah, Shireen, Jo, Joy, Louise, Srwa, Hovik and Kate from Digital & ICT for everything that they have done to help us go live with Synergy. They have devoted a huge amount of time to the project, with many of them working beyond ‘normal’ working hours to get the work done. All of this was done with endless amounts of patience and good humour. I have promised them that they can come and visit a children’s centre, once things return to normal.
Strategic Lead for Children’s Centres