Peterborough City Council has brought in fingerprint-based drug testing as part of its family safeguarding social care initiative.
The Intelligent Fingerprinting portable drug testing system detects drug use through fingerprint sweat analysis.
The council adopted the system to encourage service users to abstain from drug use and to adhere to family court custody conditions or social care child protection arrangements.
‘Having previously worked in child protection for a number of councils, I could immediately see the benefits of the Intelligent Fingerprinting drug testing method when I joined Peterborough City Council,’ said Jo Foster, head of service for family safeguarding at the council.
‘With sample collection in seconds and results in 10 minutes, the immediacy of the fingerprint-based drug testing approach certainly makes for much more informed and engaged client meetings.
‘There is also a significant efficiency saving across the process, as results can be shared more quickly with third party agencies as required – enabling a much more collaborative working process between the council, social workers and representatives of the family court.’
Ms Foster also said that service users were ‘very positive’ about the test because of its non-invasive nature. She noted that it was good for building trust and transparency.
‘We’re finding that being able to complete tests and share results during meetings really helps in terms of building trust, while removing the requirement to conduct traditional urine, blood or saliva tests separately also makes the process much more transparent,’ she said.
Intelligent Fingerprinting’s Dr Paul Yates, who has worked with both Peterborough City Council and Change Grow Live, which carries out the tests on behalf of the council, added: ‘In addition to the benefits of fingerprint-based drug testing such as its non-intrusive nature, ability to deliver rapid results and its portability, it’s clear that Peterborough City Council has also been able to secure significant productivity improvements.
‘The fact they can now work faster and more collaboratively with other agencies leads directly to a more informed family safeguarding process and better outcomes for both the council and its service users.’