The subject of vulnerable people is a burning issue at the top of the agenda across the Public-Sector departments and organisations that exist to safeguard individuals and families in our society; but is it a battle that they can win with people alone?
With continuing austerity and the need to do muchmore with much less, these organisations exist in a world that is becoming more and more complex, especially when it comes to safety, crime and technology.
But what does the term ‘Vulnerable Person’ cover?
According to the College of Policing in the UK:
‘Vulnerable and at-risk individuals, who have become (or are at risk of becoming) victims of:
Child abuse; child sexual exploitation; domestic abuse; female genital mutilation; forced marriage; honour-based violence; modern slavery; prostitution; serious sexual offences; stalking and harassment.’
There is much written about the cause and effect across society. But most of us would agree that the source of delivery in terms of the perpetrators covers all aspects of society. From the underprivileged, to the over privileged, from all Ethnic and Cultural backgrounds, from dysfunctional (or maybe functional looking!) families to seriously organised cross border organised crime gangs.
How can these government agencies manage to keep up with this tsunami of a challenge? I am sure that more expert resources would help, but will resources alone suffice?
The one obvious and well recorded opinion from the professional and academic communities is that proactivity outweighs reactivity in every instance. What is the price of saving a child from abuse or from violence, protection of any person in society from being abused whether in the domestic world or people being shipped into slavery or prostitution?
To become proactive, you must go beyond being responsive and to do that the authorities need information so that they can make decisions at the right time and with the most authentic and credible data sources.
These data sources may be owned at different sources and by different organisations, but the question is: If this data can be shared, then as a Police Officer or a health worker or a social worker surely this makes common sense? Each of these stakeholders is trying to profile their information so that they can make the right decision at the right time.
With the speed technology is advancing it is exactly that combination of Human expertise and technology such as with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. This is surely a sensible approach to make our societies a safer place for those at risk.
Nothing is perfect, but doing Nothing should never be an option.
Mark Holder and Jim White work for SAP in the Public Sector for the EMEA IVE team