This page is here for archive purposes, to showcase PS Plus and European Social Fund (ESF) achievements between 2002 2008. For information on the latest ESF funded National Offender Management Service (NOMS) programme, please click here.
PS Plus
CATS 5
PS Plus
CATS
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Monitoring the progress of beneficiaries, and accurately measuring the effectiveness of the work being done with them, is a complex task. With that in mind, PS Plus have developed a powerful management tool in the shape of the Case Assessment and Tracking System (CATS).

This unique software package allows key workers and managers to track and monitor prisoner movement and activity throughout the prison estate and out into the community.

The system is built around a case management structure, with clients - or beneficiaries - initially answering questions and being assessed in areas defined by the objectives and requirements of the project. A traffic light system is then used to grade the responses for each area; any in red or amber prompt an automatic referral.

Throughout a beneficiary’s ‘journey’, CATS can produce in-depth reports of the project’s effectiveness as well as chronicling the individual’s progress. It can also graphically represent that progress as ‘distance travelled’ – a function that has proved invaluable in helping to further increase beneficiaries’ self-confidence and their motivation to overcome the barriers to employment that they face. For a more detailed explanation of the 'distance travelled' model, please click here.

Project Manager
A Project Manager can effectively manage the case loads and the admissions onto the project using the case allocation section of the system. CATS will link into existing IT systems to allow the ‘draw down’ of information, reducing the risk of data duplication and redundancy, and also increasing data integrity. In short, why should you have to enter huge amounts of data twice?

Using the comprehensive reporting tools, the Project Manager can retrieve in-depth management information of project progress and achievements. An SQL utility will also allow data to be extracted and analysed using SPSS.

Key Worker
CATS provides Key Workers with a full set of case management functions as well as being an effective assessment tool. The system operates on the basic model of ‘a beginning, a middle and an end’. At the beginning, the beneficiary is assessed to determine their needs. They are given a rating of red, amber or green depending on the results. Red indicates that there are significant issues, amber indicates some identified issues, while green indicates no issues in that area.

Depending on the results of the assessment, the Key Worker can then complete the Community Integration Plan (CIP). The CIP is the action plan which the Key Worker follows. It contains all the actions required to obtain the required result and can also include referrals to other projects/organisations or to employment brokerage teams. Regular reviews are automatically entered onto the CIP to ensure that the actions are up-to-date and relevant. As the Key Worker progresses through the action plan, their progress is recorded on the CIP. The implementation, management and monitoring of the CIP and its progress forms the middle section of the case management model.

Once a beneficiary has completed their time on the project, all their achievements can be recorded in the outcome section. The outcome section is totally customisable to allow any achievement, hard or soft, to be recorded and counted. Therefore, using the assessment at the beginning of the process, and then the beneficiary’s achievements during the project, we can accurately demonstrate the distance travelled by the beneficiary.

Beneficiary
One criticism of resettlement, assessment or case management systems is that clients sometimes feel ‘assessed to death’. With this in mind, the CATS assessment has been design to be as quick and painless as possible while obtaining all the relevant information required to put together a comprehensive Community Integration Plan (CIP).

By employing motivational interviewing techniques, the CATS assessment can engage the beneficiary and help them to contribute to the CIP, further improving their motivational levels. Once the CIP has been completed and put into action, regular reviews and meetings with beneficaries maintain their engagement in the project, making them an integral part of the case management process.

Using the CATS system and the PS Plus case management model beneficiaries are involved in the process from beginning to end, truly engaging with the whole process and maintaining a feeling of ownership. These are all important factors if motivational levels are to be kept high.

ETE Worker
The CATS system includes a comprehensive Employment Brokerage section, allowing the tracking of employment requirements and the matching-up needs of beneficiaries to available jobs or education placements. The Employer and Job Database holds a list of all employers who are interested in employing ex-offenders and any jobs that may be available. Using information gathered about the beneficiaries’ level of skills and their employment requirements, jobs can easily be matched to beneficiaries. Once the match has been made, contact with employers and beneficiaries is monitored using the contact management system. Job applications can be managed and interviews arranged to satisfy the prospective employer and the restrictions placed on the beneficiary.

ESF Management
The management and monitoring of ESF projects is notoriously complex. The amount of information that needs to be recorded and reported on is enormous, and accounting for match funding is time consuming and susceptible to errors. Because CATS was designed not only with case management in mind, but also the management of an ESF project, all this information can be produced at the click of a button. Information for the final ESF claim can be produced in seconds, and beneficiary activity data needed for match funding information is recorded in real time and available 24/7.

Summary
In summary CATS is an essential assessment and case management tool. It is able to identify areas of need, and then plan and manage any resettlement activity needed. Using the information recorded, management of resettlement projects, especially ESF projects, is made easy.

Screenshots
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