Rewind story: fostering communication using Yammer

How our foster carers have embraced technology and made kids’ lives better as a consequence

Foster carers in Monmouthshire have a social media platform that allows them to privately have group conversations, to share tips and opinions on their work, policies they work to and life in Monmouthshire.

Foster carers are very active on the site and regularly chat to each other in a way they were never able to before when they met face-to-face occasionally.

They talk on Yammer. Yammer has allowed council officers create an ‘external network‘ that is a private, ‘invite only’, group. It was created by officers but is very much owned by Foster Carers.

This came about after the Foster Care team talked to Foster Carers and discovered that they were keen for a way to give and receive information.

They discussed ways that they could have a much more open dialogue and also how it would be nice if they could all get to know each other better as people. They thought something less static than a website would help to get everyone comfortable talking about often sensitive and difficult subjects.

Council officers could have spent time and loads of money trying to develop a website where they post documents and announcements that would be useful to foster carers. But in this case, Yammer worked better.

Here’s the story from Gill Cox, Foster Care Manager, and Jenny Jones, a Monmouthshire Foster Carer.

What foster carers like

• Yammer gives them the event function (similar to Facebook events) – they can now organise social and support occasions like a picnic easily.

• They answer each other’s questions – we have a great deal of experience among the group and they now have a place to share good practice and get support and advice not just from ‘the authority’ but from peers who do the job too.

• They have direct access to our director of social services (who joined the group) and can be consulted with on major documents.

• They get to question  policies, and ask about certain rules and get officers explanations for why they do what they do.

Why it works

Foster carers all know about their responsibilities regarding confidentiality and not posting inappropriate information, they are very careful about getting support without compromising confidentiality.

Our Foster Care team are open to new ways of working more effectively and they have really put the effort in to the Yammer network, getting conversation buzzing and making the right information available.

For more Rewind Stories see the main page.

Posted by Helen in the communications team.



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