08 Dec 2023
by Penny Ellis

Delivering better outcomes in youth justice

Somerset Council’s Youth Justice Team works with local communities to prevent offending and re-offending by children and young people. The team includes social workers, psychologists, drugs workers, parenting workers, restorative workers, education workers and a network of volunteers.

The software they used was in real need of an upgrade, as the council’s Head of Service for Youth Justice, Lise Bird, explains:

“We work really hard to support young people but our software was getting in the way. Even transferring data to the Youth Justice Board was hard, so we had to make a change.”

The council went out to tender for a replacement and shortlisted three potential solutions. After a series of reviews that included IT and finance specialists as well as Lise’s own team, NEC Pathways came out on top.

Staying focused on better outcomes

Pathways helps practitioners manage cases right through to completion, from appointments to intervention programmes, AssetPlus assessments and more. Designed by youth justice experts, its goal is to keep teams focused on outcomes by simplifying data entry, enabling collaboration, making light work of reporting and transferring data with ease.

Lise says that Pathways was clearly the right choice for Somerset:

“Quite a few of us had a ‘wow’ moment when we went through the demos. We’d been lacking in information for so long that having it presented visually – where you can tell what’s overdue straight away – was a complete joy.

“You can see it’s been designed by people who know youth justice because it lets you read a child’s whole history like a book. To get that information before, you’d have to click open, read and close every single entry.”

Getting ready to go live

The first big challenge for implementation was data migration, as the previous solution had been in place since 1998. But by working closely Somerset’s team and maintaining clear channels of communication, we were able to resolve the issues successfully. We also worked together on some improvements, as Lise explains:

“We’re the first council to use Pathways, so it was a learning curve for us both. But it meant we could refine things together along the way. For example, NEC created a button that lets us flag all our cases that are part of a specific prevention programme called ‘Turnaround’. It means we can report on those cases so easily, saving us huge amounts of time.”

We then provided a mix of basic and role-specific training to keep things simple for users.

Strong support since Day 1

Somerset went live with Pathways in November 2022, with our team on site to provide support. Lise also feels that we’ve been responsive to their needs throughout:

“Right from the start, NEC focused on what we needed. They listened to us, provided solutions and spoke with real clarity, which is what you need when you’re not IT experts.”

Since going live, Lise has also found Pathways so intuitive that they’re able to create their own online training for new joiners.

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Penny Ellis

Penny Ellis

Business Development Director , NEC