The world’s leading equine welfare charity, World Horse Welfare improves the lives of horses in the UK and around the world through education, campaigning and hands-on care.

The charity’s welfare hotline – which enables the public to report incidents involving horses anywhere in the UK – receives up to 8,000 calls a year, generating vast amounts of data for the charity’s UK support team. Clue has worked closely with the charity’s Head of IT and UK Head of Support to process, store and distribute this information across World Horse Welfare since 2015.

Clue’s investigations software has helped the charity respond to cases more efficiently and boosted its investigative abilities. Increased data handling capacity helps World Horse Welfare find hidden links between cases, and improve equine welfare at a more effective rate than ever before.

The challenge

Whether tracking horses being transported across Europe for slaughter, or rehoming equines as part of their rehabilitation program, World Horse Welfare’s work demands speed, coordination and effective management. Our work with the charity involved the UK team of field officers who work remotely across the country, and the investigations team who piece together intelligence on non-compliance with EU and UK law.

World Horse Welfare required a software system that could store data in one place, in order to share it across the charity and easily identify patterns in welfare cases for their investigative work.

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Before the development of Clue, World Horse Welfare used software to keep records of each case the team worked on, which included the location, treatment and any other necessary information. The adapted nature of this software wasn’t suited to the complex nature of the charity’s investigations, which made some tasks slow and repetitive.

With their earlier system, only a limited number of staff could access case information. The team had created manual processes as workarounds to manage their administrative requirements. Over time, these process developed further to allow cross-referencing between different systems. In many cases, this duplication of work increased administrative overheads, which the charity was keen to streamline.

The solution

The management of World Horse Welfare identified the need for a single system that could help the teams manage the information gathered and support the investigation team to improve their intelligence operations.

In doing so, an important observation was made. Cases involving animal welfare can be analogous to those involving criminals, and could, therefore, be managed using the same investigative software.

We worked with the World Horse Welfare IT and UK teams to move the charity’s database onto the Clue Investigation system, re-organise the data, and provide remote access to staff who needed it.

Today, when a call is made to the charity’s helpline, the UK support team uses Clue to log the concern and any necessary information. Annually, around 1,500 cases require investigation by the charity’s field officers: our platform notifies them directly when a new case is added. Field officers can access case records from their smartphone or tablet and input data based on their findings when they respond to a case. These responses are fed back in real time and can be used to initiate escalation processes, which might involve other agencies – including the police.

In turn, World Horse Welfare can track each horse through admission, rehoming and beyond via Clue’s tracking of incidents, intelligence, cases and outcomes in a single integrated app.

Using our free text-search functionality, the team is also able to better spot associations between cases, and build links between horses and their owners. This is important in cases where a negligent owner moves region, for example, because their case can be easily picked up by a new field officer in their region. On other occasions, field officers have been able to identify individuals and groups of individuals that they worked with previously and are involved in new cases.

In turn, Clue has helped to improve the charity’s investigative operations, which involve intelligence-building and covert investigations into horse trading, slaughter and abuse in partnership with government agencies and NGOs.

The team is also in the process of using the Clue API to integrate their equine records with their fundraising software – building relationships between individual animals and the benefactors who support them.

The results

Our offering has expanded since the team first started using Clue, and World Horse Welfare has taken up newer parts of our system when we launched them. The charity’s IT and UK Support teams consistently provide valuable feedback on how they can drive more value from our system.

Today more than 100 World Horse Welfare staff use our software. This includes the charity’s communications staff, who also store and source high-quality images and videos for the World Horse Welfare website.

More importantly, however, Clue has helped make World Horse Welfare’s operations faster and more efficient.

With remote and independent access to case data, field officers can respond at a moment’s notice. The UK Support team is better able to track officers’ progress. Automatic notifications sent from the system ensure important details are not missed.

Clue has encouraged the charity to rethink many of its processes and systematise the way field officers and the charity’s farm workers work together. “It helps us organise ourselves to be more efficient and it keeps things in order,” says Head of IT, Dale Gedge. “It ensures that things are done accurately and in a timely fashion. Maximum efficiency is required to keep potential equine suffering to a minimum when responding to welfare calls from the public, as well as providing excellent customer service to our supporters.”

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Head of UK Support, Sam Chubbock, and her team are also quick to praise the user experience offered by our software. “The teams find the system intuitive and easy to use on a phone, laptop or PC,” says Sam; “people do just pick it up.“

Sam continues: “With our old system, we couldn’t expect someone to use it without fairly extensive training, whereas with Clue, it’s a very easy system to use. They can figure it out pretty quickly if they’re confident and comfortable using computers.”

The system also offers enhanced flexibility. Users can design their own data view for the system, adding elements to their homepage which match their day-to-day work. Staff with questions are fully supported by the Clue Helpdesk.

The charity’s confidence in applying criminal investigation software to meet their animal welfare challenge has paid off. “Clue has done what we needed it to brilliantly, and the team worked closely with us to understand the intricate details of what we wanted from the system”.

Other animal welfare organisations are using Clue Investigation software, too. To find out how we could help you, book a 30-minute demo today.