September 3, 2008 By News Report
California's Welfare Client Data Systems (WCDS) Consortium, made up of 18 counties, was recognized today as one of CIO magazine's 2008 CIO 100 award honorees for information technology (IT) excellence. The award program, now in its 21st year, acknowledges organizations worldwide that exemplify the highest level of IT operational and strategic excellence.
The WCDS consortium and EDS, an HP company, its technology partner, were honored for the joint development and implementation of a modern IT solution that efficiently administers public assistance programs for their respective communities. The solution, an application called the CalWorks Information Network (CalWIN), handles millions of transactions per day and serves a user base of more than 30,000 county employees at more than 850 locations.
"We are truly honored to be selected by CIO Magazine for IT excellence. This award honors the tremendous efforts of our Consortium Counties, WCDS staff, and our vendor partner EDS, who have worked diligently to develop a product that best assists our counties in serving their community's needs," said WCDS Executive Director Bob Hendricks.
"EDS is proud to be part of this winning team and the collaborative effort of the consortium and its member counties in developing the CalWIN solution," said Barbara Anderson, vice president, government health and human services, EDS.
"CalWIN is a remarkable success, not only for WCDS and EDS, but for the millions of Californians who are served by the system every day," she added.
"This award reflects work that exemplifies the term 'good government': a public-private partnership that is delivered efficiently to effect positive change in our communities," added Hendricks.
CalWIN processes about 11 million transactions per day, with an average response time of 1 second, to support eligibility and benefits determination, client correspondence, management reports, interfaces and case management for public assistance programs including:
The CalWIN system allows county workers to coordinate benefits across programs to better align the delivery services to clients in need while helping consortium counties significantly improve staff productivity.
"These automated business processes result in remarkable savings over past business approaches," said Consortium member Patrick Duterte, director of health and social services department, Solano County, "including reductions in error rates while increasing the efficiency of determining benefits and getting those benefits into the hands of those in need." Other improvements have simplified caseload management, increased referrals for employment and training, and child care and supportive services.
CalWIN serves approximately 2.4 million clients which represent about 43 percent of California's caseload. CalWIN was initially designed to deliver correspondence in nine different languages and has been recently been modified to handle up to 15 different languages in order to better serve California's diverse population. The 18 WCDS Consortium Counties are; Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.