Connecting and transforming families and communities with Microsoft Dynamics

“There has been a definite improvement in efficiency. Our users are delighted with how the automation and simplification of processes has improved their ability to complete day-to-day operational tasks.”

Jaco van der Lith, Chief Technology Officer

Barnardos New Zealand employs over 800 staff and operates from more than 65 locations throughout New Zealand. Their services and advocacy work help to transform lives, and to enable families and communities to create the conditions in which children and young people can thrive.

Barnardos is a registered charity. They derive income from government funding, parent fees, corporate and philanthropic support, and the generosity of thousands of individual supporters.

The BConnect project – stage one

In 2014 Barnardos went live with stage one of BConnect, a complex and comprehensive online case management system underpinned by Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Designed to move Barnardos from a paper-based system to a digital one, BConnect supports the organisation’s Child and Family Services. The system improved Barnardos capability to collect and report on data. Having timely access to more comprehensive information means Barnardos responds to the needs of children more completely.  BConnect provides social workers with a real-time picture of casework, speeding up decisions on how best to meet the needs of the children they’re working with, and their whānau.

The first stage of BConnect delivered case management for Parenting Through Separation (PTS), Social Workers in Schools (SWIS), Home for Life (H4L) and Specialist Group Homes (SGH).

The Ministry of Social Development partnered with Barnardos in the BConnect project through the Capability Investment Resource.

BConnect stage two

Stage two of BConnect was put out to tender in 2014 and awarded to Fusion5. Fusion5’s ability and capability to meet ambitious timelines, as well as their proven expertise and experience in delivering complex Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects to the Not-For-Profit sector, were key to their engagement.

Barnardos needed to collect more information about their clients in the second stage of the project and use it to best effect. For example, scheduling individual or group meetings, managing external referrals and referring clients on to other support agencies. A range of issues arising from the first stage of the project also needed to be addressed.

From a technical perspective, Barnardos required Fusion5 to utilise as much of Dynamics CRM’s out-of-the-box functionality as possible.

One view

Family Support is one of Barnardos’ largest and most complex services.  

This nationwide, confidential, child-focused service helps families overcome challenges and make a positive change for their children. Family support social workers liaise with members of the family to identify problems, and plan actions to resolve issues, which includes referring them to other internal and external service such as Parenting Through Separation. Family Support takes the largest portion of funding that Barnardos’ services generate.

A large part of Family Support is the management of referrals from Child, Youth and Family Services as well as General Practitioners, schools, Salvation Army and the Richmond Foundation.

With BConnect, Barnardos can now capture a client’s details and directly link all other interactions, referrals, meetings, reports, family and professional contacts to their case. This comprehensive view means decisions and recommendations are based on the full knowledge of all circumstances, past and present.

Fusion5 utilised SQL Server Reporting Services to manage the required reporting options.

On-chargeable costs for any services provided to a client are also noted, and the Dynamics CRM filters provide a wide range of reporting variables: by individual, age, location and so on. As well as collecting information on clients, service providers’ details are also recorded.

Security protocols ensure that staff access to clients’ details are strictly role appropriate.

Always on schedule

Barnardos Group Parenting Programmes are run nationwide to support parents who need a helping hand. These meetings can be for groups or individuals, and dependent on the nature of the meeting, fees to attend may apply.

Dynamics CRM’s out-of-the-box functionality enables Barnardos to plan and schedule both individual and group meetings, as well as allocate resources and facilities. BConnect captures the type of programme, the date, and attendees’ names and contact details when appropriate (some meetings provide anonymity for attendees). While some of the groups are held regularly, many are subject to change. Templates set up in Dynamics CRM give Barnardos the ability to schedule meetings on a case-by-case basis. Staff can also generate client referrals to other support services.

Barnardos co-ordinators also use BConnect to make appointments with parents in the Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) and the Parents as First Teachers (PAFT). programmes. HIPPY helps parents to educate their 3 to 5-year-old children, while PAFT caters for parents with 0-3 year olds.

Cost capturing

Fusion5 created sophisticated approval and escalation processes to ensure integrity around financial transaction line generation. Extensive configuration and custom coding automates the creation of financial transaction lines based on specific conditions and events using OOTB entities for, transaction lines for maintaining rates.

BConnect does have some functionality to track the allocations of Service Delivery to funding sources. Ensuring that there are alerts if funding has been fully allocated, or is not available.

Special care

Te Poutama Arahi Rangitahi is a specialist residential treatment facility located in Christchurch, contracted to Barnardos by Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Education. The facility provides care for young men aged between 12-17 years who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour, and can no longer be safely treated within their own communities.

As well as managing court referrals for this service, BConnect captures clients’ confidential therapy notes. Significant security measures mean only case workers can view the notes. BConnect provides Barnardos’ Counselling services in Blenheim & Dunedin with similar client confidentiality, as well as managing referrals.

Barnardos’ Foster Care is another critical social service, providing short and longer term accommodation for foster children. BConnect allows Barnardos to capture a broad range of information about foster children and their carers including schedules, contacts and associates.

Child, Youth and Family fund caring for foster children on a ‘bed night’ basis, regardless of who has provided the day care. As the foster carers are also captured in BConnect, Barnardos can review a carers’ availability, capacity, suitability and current registration status before placing a child.

Partially funded by the Ministry of Justice, Barnardos Supervised Contact service gives parents supervised access to their children as laid out in a court order. Restrictions apply to time, place and behaviour. Rule breaches are captured in BConnect so that poor behaviour patterns can be identified, and access modified or revoked by the court if needed. BConnect records details of the meeting times and attendees as required by the court.

Important outcomes

There has been total executive management level buy-in of the new system. Barnardos describe BConnect as “the single most important project for the sustainability of our Child and Family Services, now and into the future.”

The delivery of the second stage of the project by Fusion5 enabled Barnardos to automate, enhance and make efficiency gains benefitting Barnardos’ clients, staff, funders, and the wider community.

BConnect makes data collection more effective, and case records easier to access and update. Barnardos gets timelier, richer information about what works best for children and their whānau.

Barnardos’ ability to understand their work and manage it improved with BConnect. New possibilities opened up for greater engagement and partnership with their clients. The organisation’s capacity to provide activity/return reports for their funders expanded, and they have a much improved platform for research and development.  The data captured by BConnect gives Barnardos a solid evidence-base that demonstrates the outcomes achieved by the children and whānau who use their services.

Additionally, the backing of the Ministry of Social Development has enabled Barnardos to develop a solution which can be shared with other NGOs who offer similar services.

The completion of stage two impacted positively on Barnardos. According to Jaco van der Lith, CTO of Barnardos New Zealand, feedback from their business users shows that Fusion5 delivered a great solution. “There has been a definite improvement in efficiency. Our users are delighted with how the automation and simplification of processes has improved their ability to complete day-to-day operational tasks.”

The stage two rollout of BConnect is supported by nationwide training. Dedicated trainers visit even the most remote sites, and IT technicians set up training rooms so users have hands-on experience of the system.

A roadmap to success

The next step for Barnardos and Fusion5 is to develop a two-year roadmap for BConnect.

While Barnardos currently use Dynamics CRM on-premise, the organisation has its sights set on going mobile and is already working on mobile forms to integrate to Dynamics CRM. The vision for the next few years is to move to an online version of Dynamics CRM and Office 365 integration, giving field workers access to select client information while on location.

While Dynamics CRM has greatly improved the visibility of Barnardos data, there is still some data residing on disparate solutions. So along with the target of mobility, a focus on consolidating data to a single source is high on the list of this family-focused organisation.

Jaco appreciates what Fusion5 has done and helped Barnardos to achieve. “Fusion5 stepped up to a huge challenge with BConnect. They’ve been instrumental in making this project a success, and the results have fully justified our confidence in their abilities.”


FYI, in an average year Barnardos will...

  • Answer more than 45,000 calls to their 0800 What’s Up helpline – New Zealand’s largest professional helpline for children and young people

  • Support more than 9,000 children through their Child and Family Services

  • Provide early learning centres, in-home childcare and education services for more than 4,000 under-fives

  • Help more than 400 children and their families to deal with issues and develop resilience through their social workers in schools

  • Help over 1,000 mums and dads gain skills and confidence through their short-term parenting programmes like PAFT and HIPPY

  • Provide family support and counselling services to more than 2,450 children and their families, across a variety of challenging issues

  • Connect with more than 2,400 families and whānau through their focused community outreach programmes

  • Support over 75 children through their foster care programme

  • Accommodate more than 40 young people in their group homes.


Great outcomes start with great conversations.

Thank you

We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please enter your name
Please enter a phone number we can get you on
Please enter a valid email address

The form contains errors

  • {{validation.errorMessage}}