Purley Park Trust is a not-for-profit Charity that provides support for adults with learning disabilities.
They support 80 people in 80 different ways in Care Homes Services, Supported Living, Domiciliary Care and Day Care services. Purley Park Trust are committed to ensuring that each of the people they support get an excellent service from the trust – delivered in a way that works for them. Help and support is offered through a team of 110 employees providing services to customers within West Berkshire, Reading and the surrounding area.
Like many other small dedicated charities, Purley Park Trust operates under a weight of compliance legislation and administrative bureaucracy. Often much of their valuable time is spent manually completing forms to demonstrate that they are compliant with their legal, regulatory and contractual duties. While they recognise the need for this work, it requires significant effort just to demonstrate compliance.
However, the Trust sees being compliant as a starting point rather than an end result though. For some time they have been thinking about how to maintain this as quickly and efficiently as possible so that as much time as possible can be devoted to ensuring that their customers get an excellent service – not just a compliant one.
At the beginning of 2012 this challenge was further compounded by an aging IT infrastructure that was dying on its feet and failing to support the organisation and its goals. Most IT related processes were hampered by extremely slow running and poor reliability. For example, HR and policy records would simply disappear or become corrupted meaning painstaking rewriting and archiving. As a consequence IT didn’t actually add any value to the running of the organisation and staff declined to use it.
Purley Park Trust was also concerned about potential risks posed by inadequate data storage and backup as well as security provision for items such as anti-virus and firewalls.
Larry Grady, Chief Executive commented
"When I joined Purley Park in late 2011, it was clear that the IT system wasn’t fit for purpose. It was right at the top of the list of issues that our Operations Manager though we needed to deal with. It neither supported our day to day operations and record keeping, nor provided any help in developing our services for the future."
The Purley Park Trust management team were confronted with an issue; find a significant capital sum to replace the current set up or gradually return to paper based systems. Local IT service firm, Connexion, were invited in on the basis of quoting for a replacement IT server, however, they offered an alternative solution. This would provide a dramatically enhanced IT system at a much lower cost of ownership, as well as access to on-going support, advice and strategic leadership. Connexion suggested a hosted or “cloud” based service that would mean that Purley Park Trust could access all the services they needed without having to acquire and manage their own server. In addition they could replace their desktop and laptop pc’s with lower specification and cheaper internet enabled devices.
Connexion implemented Microsoft 365 and Terminal Server as the chosen technology which provided access to email, Microsoft Office, Sage accounting and payroll, MS Lync for internal messaging as well as the Microsoft collaboration tool and development platform SharePoint. Managed data storage, backup and security were also provided as part of the service.
Central to this was the implementation of high speed access to the internet through low cost fibre technology, and the linking of various properties to this access through wireless technology. In addition, Connexion provide a managed service for a flat fee that ensures continued availability of the system as well as on-going strategic advice that keeps IT development aligned to the overall organisational strategy.
Larry Grady commented
"Fom the start Connexion’s approach was very different from the other suppliers we talked to. Instead of taking the easy route of replacing what we had, they listened to what we needed as an organisation and suggested something more appropriate.
Not only that, but they invested a significant amount of time reassuring our whole team of the viability of the solution and demonstrating the effectiveness through pilot systems."
With the support and help of Connexion, Microsoft SharePoint is being used to develop a wide range of business solutions for Purley Park Trust.
An internal intranet that will improve staff access to a whole range of important information as well as providing vital version control.
A business processes management system that automates many of the manual and time consuming functions such as property maintenance, vehicle maintenance and completion of compliance documentation.
A stakeholder information management system to enable external stakeholder access to prepared and easy to digest information through a web browser without the need for special configuration.