Salesforce a winner as NSW’s ChildStory project announces vendors


news The NSW Department of Family & Community Services’ ChildStory project has announced the winning vendors for a $100-million IT platform that is aimed to boost child safety in the state.

Over the last year, the FACS said in a blog post and video presentation, hundreds of its frontline staff have been involved in a process that sought to “design and describe” solutions that will bring improvements in how the team works with children, young people, carers and other partners.

After representations from a number of product vendors, ChildStory opted to use Salesforce to provide its case management and contracting solution, which also includes ways to collaborate with families and other partners.

US-based Salesforce provides a platform with an interface for case and task management, a system for automatically routing and escalating important events and other tools.

Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary of the FACS, said: “[Front-line staff] are convinced Salesforce is the right answer, and will save them time, and will enable them to get out and have and hold intimate relationships with the children we serve.

“You know from the name that Salesforce didn’t begin its life in social services, but its a global firm with incredible resources, vast experience and it is now starting to acquire experience in service delivery in South Australia, Victoria and elsewhere in the world.

“I think the fundamental here is, no selection of technologies, no matter how brilliant they are, can change practice. The system can enable that and that is vitally important, but it can’t create great practice without the leadership and participation of the people in the field.”

Because searching for data is such an important part of the FACS team’s workload, the case management solution will include technologies from Squiz – a multinational company that provides digital engagement software. It specialises in content management systems, customer experience software and consulting services.

Additionally, to enhance access to all the information regarding families the department deals with, ChildStory said it will be working with information management specialist EYC3 to move all its current information into the new system.

Over the next few months, ChildStory plans to work with its lead sites to develop implementation plans and a more detailed design of the solution.

The ChildStory team aims to have visited every district in the state by April 2016, in order to gauge responses to the new solutions and acquire feedback.

ChildStory is part of a wider $500 million reform programme called Safe Home for Life, a state-wide initiative planned to overhaul child protection.

The Safe Home for Life child protection legislative reforms are the “first step towards a less legalistic, process-driven child protection system in NSW that places children and their families at the centre of decision making”, according to the FACS.

The reforms are aimed to create a better future for children at risk of significant harm by focusing on three key areas:

  • Building parenting capacity and increasing parental responsibility
  • Providing greater permanency for children and young people in care
  • Delivering a modern, responsive and child-focused system.

Image credit: Darren Jacklin Photography (


  1. @Hubi – Having data in your own backyard does nothing to ensure privacy and security. Aus govt is proof of this with the number of security weaknesses over the past year (ie MyGov insecurities, Dept Imm leaking 10,000 asylum seeker info, etc) Go look at the security accreditations, external audits, etc etc that Salesforce has – who else comes close to this list onshore or even off shore?
    Article says two other Aus govt child service agencies already use Salesforce so the due diligence has been done by a number of different agencies a few times.

    • The ChildStory solution will have the most sensitive data imagineable on the most vulnerable children in our society. There will be integrations to the Justice, Police and Health agencies and it seems to me that the data should first and foremost reside in NSW. I am sorry if I don’t share your confidence Kman that a Sales Force Automation application that has its data residing in US data centres is the best decision for FACS.

      • I totally agree in that this will be some of the most sensitive data around a population of people who need the utmost protection. The need for privacy and security of such sensitive data is paramount.

        Regardless of selected vendor, to me it seems that there is a logical fallacy that data residency (where the data resides) equivocates to privacy and security (who has access to it either legally or illegally) which simply isn’t true. If the threat vector being protected against is hackers, they know no borders. If the threat vector is foreign government access to data, in this particular case with the USA and the Patriot Act; that requires a federal court order subpoena, they can’t just walk in and grab servers willy nilly.

        All this being said Hubi, can you help me understand how data being location in NSW is inherently safer? I’d understand if the data is located in some more questionable countries, but this isn’t the case here – proof of this can be witnessed in the newly inked Transpacific Partnership and how it includes a ban on hindering the free flow of data across borders.

        Regardless of our differing opinions, I’m sure FaCS have done their due diligence (and can be sure of this as I’ve responded to a number of government tenders myself) to ensure any vendor service provides the level of security required for the sensitivity of data being stored, irrespective of location.

  2. It’s a logical fallacy perhaps but we are talking about risk and the existing policies that NSW and Government agencies have in place around data sovereignty.

    There is a similar fallacy in your argument that if other agencies are using SFDC then it’s okay. Those scenarios may be customer relationship data interactions such as complaints tracking or support type activities.

    The Federal government has specific standards around data centre security, privacy and the handling of data and I would posit that the data in ChildStory is of the level that the most stringent requirements would need to be met to house this type of data in a public cloud and also whether that data could be housed off-shore.

    It will be interesting to see whether the ChildStory data does have health data, juvenile justice data or other data that other NSW agencies do not permit to be offshore or even in a public cloud.

  3. Salesforce is the MOST secure public cloud available today and holds the most certifications ( possible to protect customer data. You have to realise that without security and trust, salesforce has NO business model, they would go bankrupt. This is why some of the some of the largest companies both commercial and public sector trust salesforce. Google, Cisco, Intel, eBay, Schwab, HBC, Wells Fargo, FDA, CMS, HHS et al. all trust salesforce with sensitive data. Salesforce is also not just CRM (sales leads, opportunities and service requests) it is a PLATFORM where companies are building applications that do contain, payroll, health information, financial, PCI data, PHI data… so from Government, to Healthcare to Financial Services Salesforce powers applications for some of the largest organizations whom ALL have done their due diligence on Salesforce security practises. I would argue that no other cloud software company on the planet pays more attention to security than does salesforce.

  4. To me it reads like our sovereignty and public cloud policies of old are perhaps evolving to finally enable gvmt organsations to leverage proven, scalable, secure services to achieve efficient and effective outcomes like the corporate world does. Bravo!

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