An online platform called the Social Development Agency Directory (S.D.A.D) is now available to allow agencies to share information about vulnerable clients seeking help from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and social service agencies.
President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) Kemar Saffrey said the new platform would be made accessible to NGOs, civil society groups, Government agencies, community groups, and funding agencies in Barbados who work directly with persons seeking social services, as well as those in dire need of assistance in obtaining basic goods and supplies.
Today, representatives of Government agencies and NGOs, gathered at the Courtyard by Marriott in Hastings, Christ Church for the S.D.A.D’s official launch.
Saffrey, who played an instrumental role in creating the platform, which he said already has information about BVHS’ clients, said S.D.A.D would allow agencies to track and carefully access the information and needs regarding clients.
“Too many times we have clients going from one agency to another, and we don’t have any way of tracking where that client went and what services that client received.
“So this system now would allow you to insert what agency the client went to, what services were rendered to them and an indication of what services they still needed.
“So for example, when they come to the BVHS I can easily go onto the platform and see that this person came from welfare having received a food voucher and this person also went to psychiatric hospital and received mental health services,” he said.
Saffrey also noted that another objective of the creators of the directory was also to assist with clamping down on persons who misuse and abuse social services.
The president said too often he has dealt with clients who left BVHS and immediately went on to the Welfare Department and other agencies, accessing assistance they would have already received.
“You find that people are abusing it. Then we have persons when they go for these services they can’t get.
“Why? Because you are rendering all your services to one person, several agencies giving to one person and it really puts a burden on the organisation. The good thing about this system now is that it can track the individual’s whereabouts,” Saffrey explained.
Saffrey said the platform would allow students conducting research on the state of homelessness and other issues affecting the island’s social landscape, to collect up-to-date information logged in the directory.
He said once students provided necessary information about themselves and the institution they represent, they would receive information through a controlled process.
“On this platform we can send information to university students, and Government, without having to put together information all over again. There are graphs we can send you, there are real statistics we can send you, like how much persons went through the welfare system, because each section on the platform generates a graph and statistics that could be shared,” he added.
Saffrey said that he was awaiting responses from agencies regarding whether they would join the S.D.A.D.