The Government of Canada pays special attention to the quality of delivery of social programs and promotes an idea of family development and child care. The Integrated Case Management (ICM) was a mutual initiative between the Ministries of Social Development, Children and Family Development, and Citizens’ Services and Open Government in 2011 (Kot, 2013). Despite its positive intentions and attempts, a new system failed to replace even two-thirds of the old system that supported child protection, subsidies, and income assistance (The Canadian Press, 2015; Charette, 2014). Many concerns around the ICM exist as it did neither meet expectations nor improved service delivery, but its developers recognized problematic issues and examined costs to make sure the government could protect children and families.
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Family and social development is one of the urgent tasks for Canadian citizens. The overall price of the ICM over six years was about $182 million, including the four phases and the creation of MATRIX (Kot, 2013; Shaw, 2014). Phase 1 focused on the implementation of security access rules, and Phase 2 defined the basic case management issues (Auditor General of British Columbia, 2015). Phase 3 promoted the deployment of specific programs, and Phase 4 improved various business processes (Auditor General of British Columbia, 2015). MATRIX was another option to ensure the effectiveness of the system in accordance with the approved budget (Shaw, 2014). The contributions of social service workers cannot be ignored in this scheme as they check how services can be delivered in an integrated manner, using wide-open access to all ICM system’s information (Kot, 2013). In fact, the goals and plans of the ICM developers seemed to be reasonable and justified.
There were many reasons for the implementation of the ICM system. Integration of multiple programs beyond the already existing system and the improvement of data sharing in the social services sector motivated the team. Compared to direct case management services, the integrated system ensures employees and clients with guarantees to cover complex approaches and services. Business simplification, replacement of multiple legacy systems, and privacy protection are the major characteristics of ICM databases (Auditor General of British Columbia, 2015). Meissner (2015) mentioned that this approach was nominated for the annual Premier’s Award for Innovation and Excellence, proving the privileges of this decision. Clients may use this outside source and Global News or Vancouver Sun articles to improve their understanding of the ICM.
Regarding the already made achievements and failures, the ICM project has many supporters and opponents. On the one hand, the ICM turns out to be a better source for front-line workers due to appropriate tools and simple processes for services’ delivery, compared to the Canadian legendary aging system. On the other hand, multiple replacements, changes, and innovations may confuse employees and society and require additional training and explanations. However, it is necessary to deal with innovations because they determine future progress and success in society. These qualities and objectives are the core issues in the ICM system.
In general, the ICM has certain benefits and shortages because of which it is hard to create a single opinion about the system. People cannot ignore the truth that innovations play a role in society, and the government should support such initiatives. It is hard to take a step and be sure that no mistakes occur. The ICM team is on their way to introduce a powerful system where populations’ information is stored and shared in a safe and properly organized way.
- Auditor General of British Columbia. (2015). Integrated case management system. Web.
- The Canadian Press. (2015). B. C. auditor rips government’s computer system. Global News. Web.
- Charette, R. N. (2014). British Columbia’s integrated case management system falls over. IEEE Spectrum. Web.
- Kot, J. (2013). Integrated case management project overview. Web.
- Meissner, D. (2015). B. C. auditor rips performance of government’s $182-million computer system. The Globe and Mail. Web.
- Shaw, R. (2014). B. C. alone in using troubled software system to manage child welfare. Vancouver Sun. Web.