Welfare Call

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Welfare Call's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Welfare Call is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Directors Stuart and Julie
The Welfare Call Group was established in 2002 to assist
local authorities, education services, social services, and
children’s and families’ departments collect and analyse
attendance and attainment data for vulnerable children. The
group currently work with over 100 local authorities across
the UK. The information they obtain is used to support early
intervention and safeguarding initiatives. Directors Stuart and
Julie Henderson tell
more about this
intricate enterprise.
Every day, our team of over 45 dedicated and experienced call operators gathers
attendance data on over 30,000 children, regardless of what type of education
provision they attend. The data might come from mainstream schools such as local
primary or secondary schools, but could also be from other places where children
and young people are educated, such as residential care homes, hospitals, young
offender institutions, apprenticeship schemes and colleges.
The same team collects attainment data on a termly basis and is supported by
technology that helps ensure that calls are made efficiently. The process captures
data in a way that is quality checked, collated and fed back to agencies with an
expectation that it will not only be used for statutory reporting purposes, but also
be acted upon in their day-to-day operations.
Running parallel to our call-based services are our cloud-based solutions, including
the design and maintenance of the 14,000-plus Personal Education Plans, or “ePEPs”,
that are completed every term. These are an online multiagency record of how
»Directors: Stuart and Julie
»CEO: Graham Kavanagh
»Established in 2002
»Based in Cudworth, South
»Services: Collection and
analysis of education data for
vulnerable children
»No. of employees: Over 100
»Monitors 30,000 children
across England, Wales and
Scotland daily
Welfare Call
Highlighting best practice
professionals working with each child
in care will support their educational
outcomes and achievements. We also
provide reports and analysis of the
data captured in these forms as well as
reminders when work is overdue.
A strong commitment to our
Although we are as excited as any
technology firm about advancements
in automation, analytics and artificial
intelligence, we pride ourselves on
retaining the one-to-one human
interaction we have with schools and
other educational providers.
Supported by customised call centre
software, using this method of data
collection enables our call operators
to build a relationship with providers,
leading to a personal and friendly
interaction that is missing from purely
software-based methods of collection.
In addition to this, the building of
relationships enables us to query
responses that may be slightly
ambiguous or contradictory –
something software is a long way from
being able to do reliably (although,
of course, when it does, we’ll be at
As child sexual exploitation and
county-lines drug networks continue to
target young people who are in care or
are disengaged from formal education,
there is increasing concern about
children being missing from home as
well as their placements. We can alert
carers and social workers immediately
to non-attendance at school and to
follow this up with a phone call.
So, although we will adopt technology
where it supports good outcomes for
children, we firmly believe that the
child-focused professions that rely on
us should in turn be supported by real
people living in the same communities
as their clients.
Initiatives, developments and
the future
With the new CEO, Graham Kavanagh,
the business has grown each of its
product, development, call operator
and IT services teams to cope with
requests to monitor a wider range of
vulnerable groups.
We have just launched a Welfare
Cloud Analytics tool that will enable
schools and local authorities to spot
trends, problems and improvements in
their services in real time. The data we
collect from our call operators and via
the forms that professionals complete
online is turned into clear graphs or
“visualisations”, which are updated
overnight. For key safeguarding
measures, the system will notice when
a pre-set threshold has been met
and automatically send an email or
text message to the local authority’s
nominated representative.
A friendly and dedicated
We have just
launched a
Welfare Cloud
Analytics tool
that will enable
schools and
local authorities
to spot trends,
problems and
in their services
in real time
Empowering the
education sector
Children in difficult situations will often
have many different professionals
from many different agencies working
with them. It can be daunting for the
children and their families, as these
agencies often have their own specific
ways of doing the same things. This
can lead to a lot of duplication of
effort, with these agencies using
different systems. We are trying to
minimise this with single online forms
that everyone can contribute to.
Much of the change in our work is
driven by the outcomes of inspections,
particularly Ofsted and the Care
Quality Commission in England. Local
authorities that have had negative
inspections often look to their
processes and use of technology to
see if there are ways that they can
help. At present, we have a particular
focus on ensuring that children and
their parents or carers can contribute
fully to the plans being made
We are always keeping an eye on
political developments and legislation
that have the potential to require our
software to be changed. For example,
we are closely watching the Home
Education (Duty of Local Authorities)
Bill, which is likely to require education
departments to capture and process
new information. Reading the bill, and in
particular the debates in Hansard, helps
us to understand not only what we may
need to build, but the reasons for the
changes that are need. Often the debates
give us a better picture of the problem
parliament is trying to solve than the
final legislation, which will most likely
have included pragmatic compromises.
We’re acutely conscious of being a
software company working in a very
sensitive domain. We will always
ensure that the support we give to
professionals involved in safeguarding
comes as much from our values as
from our technological expertise.
Much of the
change in our
work is driven
by the outcomes
of inspections,
Ofsted and the
Care Quality
Commission in
Senior management


This article was sponsored by Welfare Call. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy