Following the recent high-profile scandals and institutional failures, Clue, one of the world’s leaders in cloud investigation case management solutions, has seen safeguarding rocket up the agenda and become a key priority for many organisations world-wide.

Clue safeguarding investigation

With modern technology enabling perpetrators to target vulnerable people more easily, effective safeguarding is proving to be a huge, perpetual challenge and at a time when the levels of scrutiny have never been higher. Lack of funding and manually intensive paper-based systems are leaving many organisations and safeguarding units struggling to cope.

However, technology can also be used as an effective method of defence. We build a consensus on three main ways in which investigation technology can be used in support of safeguarding:

  • Identifying perpetrators at an earlier stage
  • Providing a comprehensive audit trail for stakeholders
  • Releasing capacity from time-consuming manual administration to higher value safeguarding work

The challenges of safeguarding in the 21st century

The exploitation of vulnerable people is never far from the headlines putting safeguarding at the front of the public’s consciousness, and scrutiny has never been so intense. Kath Bennett, Safeguarding Case Manager for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) agrees, “National Governing Bodies, who receive funding from Sport England, must meet standards set by the Child Protection in Sport Unit.”

Initiatives like the UK’s current Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), are striving to learn the lessons from the past, but help is needed.

To meet the standards required to respond to and manage safeguarding concerns “an effective tool is required to assist safeguarding teams to triage, manage and make defensible outcome decisions.”

The increase in reported incidents is putting huge pressure on an already strained, mainly manually managed system. Kath states that to meet the standards required to respond to and manage safeguarding concerns “an effective tool is required to assist safeguarding teams to triage, manage and make defensible outcome decisions.”

Denise Eastwood, Safeguarding Manager from the British Council has witnessed these challenges posed. Before implementing a completely digital cloud-based system the Council’s safeguarding work was split between multiple systems. She said, “There was scope for poor quality data capture and human error” and with their referrals increasing in volume year on year by 50%, “the situation was becoming difficult to manage and maintain.”

A solution to managing this spiralling situation was essential, particularly as highlighted by Peter Spindler, Independent Safeguarding Advisory Group Chair “Survivors of abuse often feel ‘re-victimised’ by the inadequate or inappropriate handling of investigations.”

Using a secure, easy-to-use cloud investigation case management system, such as Clue, can address these issues and make managing investigations simple, quick, and more effective.

Cloud investigation technology can help identify perpetrators at an earlier stage

A cloud investigation case management system can take the information gathered during the reporting phase, organise that information and identify links, patterns and trends that would not be readily identifiable by simply reading through reports. It offers a rigorous and consistent approach across all reports.

Clue can help significantly to “identify trends, patterns and hotspots, all of which we need to report to management, but we can only do that if we are able to see them.”

Perpetrators, who commit serious offences, often start with lower-level behaviours. Denise commented that Clue can help significantly to “identify trends, patterns and hotspots, all of which we need to report to management, but we can only do that if we are able to see them.” Investigating these lower-level transgressions at the earliest opportunity ultimately reduces the risk of bad behaviour escalating.

At the RFU, Kath reports that Clue is used across the governance of the RFU and repeated low-level concerns can be immediately assessed for risk. Furthermore, she sees the benefit of the technology that goes way beyond that of an excel spreadsheet. It allows her team to analyse information and plan “future workstreams, identifying areas of improvement and recognising changes in risk profile” – essential when working with statutory agencies.

Technology provides a comprehensive audit trail

Various inquiries into many recent safeguarding failures have highlighted poor or fragmented information recording as a key element in the failure, where there were varying levels of data capture, quality and consistency.

Using a cloud investigation case management system provides a robust and structured approach, recording data in a timely, accurate and consistent way. It allows for full transparency, the ability to provide evidence when needed and therefore complete audibility that will stand up to scrutiny.

“Technology also helps hugely with statutory reporting to internal and external stakeholders and enables us to document, demonstrate and defend (where necessary) why decisions were made. We have that reassurance and evidential integrity that are so important.”

Denise agrees, “Technology also helps hugely with statutory reporting to internal and external stakeholders and enables us to document, demonstrate and defend (where necessary) why decisions were made. We have that reassurance and evidential integrity that are so important.”

Kath appreciates this benefit too, with the RFU being accountable to both internal and external partners and when work is required to be evidenced to the Child Protection in Sport Unit. Alongside their processes, she comments that Clue helps, “maintain a culture where safeguarding is embedded across all areas and work of the RFU.”

From time-consuming manual administration to higher value safeguarding work

With the increase in caseloads, both Denise and Kath found that paper-based methods and manual systems were proving challenging. Using Clue has enabled Kath’s team to effectively manage referrals and case management investigations with more ease and speed. Equally, with 95% of the work now done digitally, Denise’s team is freed up from the manual admin to completing higher value safeguarding investigations.

Cloud investigation case management systems, such as Clue, have been developed at a time when there is a desperate need. Not only have reports of safeguarding issues increased substantially, but manual systems have been unable to cope or put preventative measures in place.

Clue has the ability to identify perpetrators early, with the aim of preventing more serious offences. Comprehensively bringing together all the necessary information in one smart and secure, single application that’s accessible anywhere or on any device, makes even the most complex investigations straightforward, while providing a robust case management tool that stands up to audit and scrutiny.