Computers in Social Work by Bryan Glastonbury (auth.)

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By Bryan Glastonbury (auth.)

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Hence it removes fears of contamination or muddling with other data files and other users- The Growth oj Computing in Social Work Services 27 fear s which exist even if computer specialists assert that they are groundless. The opportunities offered by PROBIS, SOSCIS and mo st of the other systems in use around the country have broad similarities. They all store information relevant to the agency , about clients , services offered, resources available and in use, budgets, staff, staff workloads, known risks and so forth.

Every user is then required to sign an undertaking that the Code of Practice and Security Rules have been read and understood, and will be observed . A separate Code and undertaking applies to anyone wanting printed information, though in any event this must have prior approval from HQ . Misuse , or, in the terms of the Code, 'disallowed purposes', takes two forms . There is a general statement defining as disallowed anything not specifically allowed in the Code or approved by the Director. Then there is a specific assertion that 'No access to and use of data is allowed where exploitation by commercial or industrial organisations could occur' (Code of Practice, para.

Put in a slightly more political way, social services, as newcomers, could not expect any privileges, and would always come further back in the queue than established users. This has been most noticeable when major policy decisions have had to be taken about, for example, equipment replacement. Finally the sharing itself carried the seed of dissent and con- 26 Computers in Social Work troversy, because it so blatantly set up the possibility of data sharing, of allowing other departments and agencies to get hold of confidential case file s.

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