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Herts County Council logoEvolveOnline Notifications and Approvals System - Evolve

EVOLVE is now in use in over 100 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland.
As stated in the Policy Statement in Hertford's Employer Guidance for the Management of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) and Offsite Visits, " It is a requirement that all Hertfordshire children’s services establishments use the EVOLVE system".

The system automatically sends notification of visits required to be notified to the LA through to the County's Offsite Visits Adviser. Please note that paper-based notifications of visits can no longer be accepted.
It is hoped that establishments see the benefits of using the system over paper-based systems for most, if not all, offsite visits, ensuring there is a clear audit trail for the planning and approval of visits without the need for lots of filing cabinet space.

Amongst many other features, the new upgraded system allows establishments to maintain their own on-line libraries of documents such as local policy documents, risk assessments and other documents attached to previous visits, as a useful resource of information available to organisers of future visits. It also now includes a post-trip evaluation facility, in keeping with Ofsted's recommendation that it is good practice to evaluate all LOtC activities against clearly stated objectives for the activity.

Since the system enables Hertfordshire to meet its statutory monitoring obligations it won't cost LA-maintained establishments, including VA and Foundation schools, a penny!

As part of the progressive programme of enhancements to EVOLVE a number of changes will be noticeable to users of the system in the very near future. These changes will not require any additional or update training but please contact evolvesupport@hertscc.gov.uk  if there are any queries.

Changes and Improvements to Evolve New

It is a Policy requirement that all Children’s Services establishments should be using EVOLVE for the planning and notification of Offsite Visits see Section 4 (bottom of page 5)

It is hoped that all users will continue to find EVOLVE as easy and useful to use as before.
The recommended “rule of thumb” is that if a visit or activity involves putting the participants onto mechanised transport (with the fairly common exception of routine PE and Sports fixtures) it should be recorded, and approved, on EVOLVE

Accessing Evolve

The link to 'Evolve' in Hertfordshire is currently:

This site can only be accessed once establishments have been provided with their log in details.

EVOLVE is an Internet-based system and can be accessed by staff using their login details wherever there are Internet access facilities via any Internet-connected device.

Establishments will be provided with login details for their Offsite Visits Coordinators and Heads/Managers. Individual staff accounts can be set up by the EVCs or Heads/Managers and these can be transferred when required if staff change establishments within Herts.

What is Evolve?

The system is intended for internal use within establishments for planning, notification and approval of all levels of offsite visits, including repeat trips such as Year 4/5 swimming lessons at the local baths and sports team fixtures. It is also intended for notifying the Local Authority of visits which include self-led adventurous activities, fieldwork trips to open or "wild" country, and all trips overseas.

All visits can be planned on the system which takes users through a step-by-step process until all required stages are complete. The stages can be completed in whatever order suits the user and 'Evolve' allows the user to leave the process and log out of the system and then come back again to a particular visit, without losing any of their work.
External documents, such as detailed Risk Assessments (OV4 & 5) and lists of participants' names and summary details (OV8) can be completed electronically and attached as required.

Once the planning stages are complete, the visit can be submitted to the establishment's Visits Coordinator for checking and initial approval. The EVC may insert a comment and then either refer the visit on to the Head/Manager (or the person with the delegated authority for approval on the Head's behalf) for formal approval, or back to the appropriate member of staff for amendment or further work.

The visit can either be finally approved by means of an electronic signature (PIN), referred back for further work, or refused. As with all PINs, Heads/Managers should be careful about who these are shared with. They will still be regarded as responsible for approving a visit in the same way as they would be with a signature on a paper approval form (OV3).
Once a visit has been formally approved, all material details become "locked" as an historic record and cannot be changed, although comments can still be added as Notes where required. Where applicable, the system will prompt the user that a visit needs to be submitted to the Local Authority for notification.

Hard copies of the visit summary details can be printed from the system at any stage if required.
EVOLVE also provides facilities to generate reports for EVCs and Heads to build up a profile of visits by the establishment by various categories, which may be of use in a variety of situations.

Offsite Visit Providers

The system contains extensive databases of all kinds of providers from coach operators to activity centres. It should be stressed that just because a provider appears in one of the databases, that is no guarantee of their quality and establishments should take the usual steps to satisfy themselves as to the suitability of any provider selected for use.

However it is possible to see which other establishment within Herts has used a particular provider and it is anticipated there will be a feedback facility for comments on the site. Users can also add details of other providers which may not already be in the databases where they wish. Details can be removed, if required, by contacting the Offsite Visits Advisor.

Support

Whilst there is no formal training provided for the use of 'EVOLVE', introductions are included as part of the Management of Offsite Visits (EVC) Training and twilight INSETs for Group Leader Awareness courses.

Most new users find the system is very intuitive to use  and the "Help" menu is being constantly refined.
It is hoped there will be no long-term need for a formal support service. Queries about staff login details should be addressed to the establishment's Visits Coordinator in the first instance.

If the EVC is unable to resolve an issue, queries should be sent either via the system's Messenger function or by e-mail to evolvesupport@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Meanwhile, enjoy and, "Have a good trip!"

Mark Falkingham
Offsite Visits Advisor