Freedom from Torture, the human rights charity, has developed a case management system that it said could be used by other mid-sized organisations.
The charity believes that the system – built with software developing company LShift as part of 'Project Daylight' – fills a gap in the market that the charity discovered when it first started looking for a solution that would help it pull its many data sources into one place.
"Initially when we did research, we wanted to see if we could buy a system off the shelf," said Freedom from Torture's ICT manager Seth Harman.
"There wasn't one. Many companies had systems that were too big for what we wanted to do, for example, tailored for larger NHS organisations."
Even those used by GP practices were too big, said Harman, as the charity only currently has 2,000 live client cases. An average GP surgery has around 6,000 patient cases to manage.
Meanwhile, the problem with other vendors of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems was that the charity would still need to re-engineer the systems to tailor them to the charity's specific needs.
Open access database
"One of the key things was that we had open access to the database, to have reports where we could directly query SQL database, so that we would not have to go back to the vendor and pay them to make changes," said Harman.
"Because we had an open access database, we can do all the reports in-house. We don't have to go back to the supplier to get a report."
He added: "At the moment we have a [six-month rolling] support contract with LShift, but the long-term idea is we want to be operationally independent."
Freedom From Torture therefore owns the source code to the case management system, as well as the intellectual property rights.
It based the IT infrastructure on the standard Microsoft architecture for building internal and external web applications, and adopted Microsoft.Net and SQL server technologies. It uses Microsoft's ASP.NET MVC 2 framework to build the applications for the project.
It already uses Microsoft's Active Directory to manage security and user authentication across the organisation.