Link Maker is used by almost every local authority in the UK to increase placement choice for children. We work with authorities, providers and national leads, across all care settings, to ensure that collaboration and data use is supported by an effective national platform.
In November 2016 Link Maker launched a commissioning platform; one place for offering individual placements within or without framework arrangements, reducing duplication and wasted time, and improving data to aid market development regionally and nationally.
The system is free of charge to residential and fostering providers, to view placement requests and list vacancies.
- Register. Everyone in your team can register online
- Explore. The system is very intuitive, and these tutorial videos help to explain what's what. Our support staff are always on hand by telephone or email if needed.
- List a vacancy. You can create profiles for any home or homes with vacancies. You can also view placement requests that have been listed, and pursue any if you feel you can help.
- Receive new opportunities instantly. Receive alerts of new placement requests, potentially targeted by criteria such as framework membership or the location of available homes or families. Access full details securely online.
- Promote individual vacancies. List detailed specifications of each placement or family, including the needs that can be met, other children in the care-setting, relevant experience and training within the family / home, photographs, video, and the date from which a placement is available.
- Universal commissioning profile. Clear and complete information is captured including the purpose of the placement, the outcomes sought, the child’s views, assessed risks, and when the placement is needed. The new form has been developed for Link Maker by Marie Tucker at CICADA Services, based on her research for ICHA into the use placement request forms.
- Search opportunities widely. Search for profiles of children for whom you may wish to offer a placement, including those from authorities with which you may not have an existing relationship. Profiles are ordered according to how well a vacancy may meet the needs of a child, and can be filtered by a range of criteria.
- Communicate effectively. Local authorities and providers contact each other directly regarding any potential placements through a secure and flexible system. All communication history is recorded against a case for future reference.
- Involve & support families. Share details with families, and empower them to help identify suitable matches where appropriate. Families can be supported online by appropriate staff during family-finding and post-placement.
- Meet data protection obligations. All documents and messages are shared securely with local authorities and families, with information encrypted using the password of the intended recipient, and made available to them for only as long as it is needed. All data is managed by an ISO 27001 accredited organisaton and is hosted in the UK.
- Keep information up-to-date. All users can update their profiles and cases directly, in real time. Link Maker monitors all activity and intervenes directly with users by email and telephone whenever an update, or a user response, may be overdue.
- Manage cases flexibly. All users accounts are specific to individuals, so that cases can be shared between managers, placements officers and social workers according to prevailing practice and policy in the organisation. Delays and inefficiencies caused by annual leave and staff turnover can be minimised.
- Effective oversight. A range of user-level permissions can be applied, granting the ability to view activity against all cases and to run detailed activity reports.
- Plan ahead. Live data is always available, and can be aggregated regionally and nationally. Powerful reports and dashboards enable supply and demand to be monitored effectively, in real time.
- Online presence. Manage a customised, branded portal for staff and families from your organisation. This can provide news and information, advertise and facilitate events, hold forums for practice discussion and peer support.
- Collaborate. A comprehensive range of collaboration features for regional services and consortia are included.
- Readily available support. Unlimited online and telephone support for all users from 9-5pm, Monday-Friday
- Ongoing development. Nothing in children's social care stands still, and Link Maker's continuous development is shaped by feedback and suggestions from users.
Staff from the organisations below have created user accounts on Link Maker through which placement requests can be viewed. Those in bold have additionally listed live vacancies for authorities to view.
24 Seven Fostering Services
Action for Children
Amicus Foster Care
Appletree Treatment Centre
Arc HD Services Limited
Archways Care Ltd
Beta Care Services
Capstone Foster Care
Care Today/Parallel Parents
Children Always First
Children's Family Trust
Classic Foster Care
Croham Services for Children
Dove Adolescent Services Ltd
Eastern Family Services
Evolution Children's Services
Family Care Fostering
Family Care Group
Family Fostering Partners
Five Rivers Child Care
Flying Colours Foster Care
Footsteps to Futures
Foster Care Associates
Foster Care Connect
Foster Care UK
Fostering North East
Fostering People Too
Harmony Children's Services
Homefinding and Fostering Agency
Homes 2 Inspire
National Fostering Agency
Olive Branch Fostering
PCC Foster Care Agency
Phoenix Learning & Care
Progress Care Solutions
Regional Fostering Services
Regional Foster Placements
Rossie Young People's Trust
Serenity Specialist Care Ltd
Supported Fostering Services
SWIIS Foster Care
The Caldecott Foundation
TimeOut Children's Homes
Tree House Care
Unity Foster Care
Welcome Foster Care
What's Out There Limited
If you have any questions about how Link Maker could fit with your placement practice, please get in touch.