Bury piloting new digital technology to help give children the best start in life

children playing and learning
  • Bury is the first area in Greater Manchester to pilot new technology that digitises early years assessments for children aged 0 to 2.5 years.
  • Parents/carers will be able to complete these online instead of having to complete cumbersome paper forms.
  • This allows parents/carers and professionals involved in a child’s care to better track a child’s progress, identify issues earlier and better coordinate care.

Giving children the best start in life is the aim of a new project funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to be first piloted in Bury – using digital technology to transform the way health information is delivered and shared in Greater Manchester.

The paper-based assessments used to review a child’s development up to the age of 2.5 years are being digitised meaning parents, carers and health visitors will be able to efficiently complete and review the assessments online.

This will help to identify developmental issues earlier and support for the child and their families can be provided quicker than current methods.

Over 7,300 children in Bury aged 0-2.5 are part of a pilot to have their paper-based development check digitised to help give them the best start in life.

It will also free-up valuable clinical time for health visiting teams – thought to be worth around £10m per year in productivity once rolled out across Greater Manchester – enabling health visitors more time to provide better quality care for our youngest citizens.

Bury will be the first area in Greater Manchester – and the UK – to be part of the pilot, with parents and carers of new-born children in Radcliffe and Prestwich being the first to trial the technology from March 2020.

Vikki McClung, Health Visitor for the Radcliffe Team, in the Bury and Rochdale Care Organisation said:  

“The Early Years App will empower parents to access everything they need to support their child’s development in one place.

It will also provide a seamless and really integrated process which will bring all partners together including health, education and most importantly the families to make sure every child is ready for school.”

Councillor Tamoor Tariq, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Bury Council, states:

“Giving our children the best possible start in life is one of our very top priorities, and we are delighted to be national pioneers in this new digitisation project. The early years are so important, and this project should help all partners to provide a simpler and more co-ordinated service.

“Furthermore, the project will complement all the work we have been doing to improve early learning, particularly in areas which have traditionally been regarded as deprived. This has led to Bury having a GLD (Good Level of Development) score of 71.4%, which is the second highest in Greater Manchester. Even more impressive is the score for Radcliffe East of 79.5%, which is much higher that what would be expected based on deprivation measures.”

Cllr Elise Wilson, Portfolio Lead at the GMCA for Digital City Region, said:

“Investing in and upgrading digital technology is fundamental to transforming our public services, so that we can provide better care and support to local people now and into the future.

“For instance, when we look at our top priorities, like ensuring children are ready for school, we find that parents and guardians don’t have sufficient access to information about their child’s development and professionals struggle with how fragmented the information is which puts a huge amount of pressure on our health systems and quality of care. This new digital transformation programme is key to leveraging our strengths and helping our families in Greater Manchester and beyond to realise their full potential.”

This work will also pave the way for other public service areas to digitally transform the service citizens receive, by digitising paper-based forms, joining up different parts of the system and sharing information safely and securely.

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