Information Management Systems in Social Services: Insights and Guidelines for the Development of Systems Supporting Outcome Oriented Management & Practice

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) strives to develop and implement computerized information management systems. Such systems may include tools for information-management relating to clients, to interventions and their outcomes; and quality assurance. The purpose of these systems is to serve staff at all levels, from top management to front-line staff.

The Unit of Outcome Oriented Management and Practice at MJB is concerned with the conceptual design and development of systems for planning interventions and monitoring outcomes. The unit was asked by MOLSA’s Planning, Research and Training Division (PRTD) to collate insights, lessons and guidelines for planning and implementing such systems based on a review of the literature and the unit’s work with the ministry in developing such systems. The purpose was to support the development of systematic outcome-based thinking on interventions and the monitoring of outcomes.

The results of this review are presented in this report.

Main recommendations:

  • To develop a single integrated system for work with clients that interfaces with administrative systems, as opposed to multiple systems that impose significant burdens on the staff
  • To develop systems focused on the needs of front-line staff while meeting the needs of supervisory and management levels
  • To engage in collaborative development processes that give expression to the voices of all staff levels and include mechanisms for ongoing dialogue
  • The system should provide opportunities for updates and changes
  • To invest significant resources in implementing outcome-based thinking as a prerequisite for outcome-based practice
  • To develop methods and practices for incorporating the use of information-management systems in ongoing practice, including training, supervision and ongoing learning
  • To support processes that encourage the sustained use of such systems.

The report has been presented to the administrations of the PRTD, the Division for Personal and Social Services, and the Division of Information Systems as well as to representatives of Digital Israel. It is serving as a basis for the ongoing development of outcome-based information systems in the ministry.

The review was initiated and funded by PRTD at the request of the Ministry’s Digital Israel Project.