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Itree Pty Ltd: sharing information nationally to ensure child safety

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Publication Date: 
November 2020
Case study from: Industry Innovation and Science Australia annual reports

A Wollongong based Australian technology SME, Itree Pty Ltd (Itree), was established in 1996.

Itree develops intelligent software for government agencies and regulators in Australia and New Zealand.

Itree received Business Research Innovation Initiative (BRII) Grants totalling $1,033,380 over the course of the BRII feasibility and proof of concept stages. The grants were for the challenge ‘sharing information nationally to ensure child safety’.

Itree worked in close collaboration with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ACT Community Services Directorate. They developed REACH from the ground up. REACH has a design that caters to, and works within, the technology and privacy constraints of securely sharing personal and sensitive information.

This innovative product is a first of its kind.It will enable State and Territory organisations to ‘reach out’ and securely share vital information to inform critical decision about children at risk. The data sharing hub will be progressively rolled out to all Australian State and Territories.

Itree has a $5.9 million, 5 year contract to deliver this project.

The Australian Department of Social Services has been actively contributing, including financially, to support the initiative.

REACH caters for variable data quality by providing intelligent features such as:

  • name permutations
  • relationship pattern matching and partial matching

It uses a configurable match confidence score. It actively learns over time to improve match confidence calculations.

The product is designed for intuitive ease of use. This is key to minimising impact to staff operating in high-pressure, time-critical environments. It allows agency workers to have the right information at the right time. This results in more searches for relevant information.

As a result of the BRII grant, REACH has been built as a genuine product offering, supported by a product vision and roadmap.

It is hoped that significant benefits will be realised by the child protection agencies. It is also hoped that the data sharing model could be replicated for other applications to protect and improve the lives of children in Australia.

Inter-agency data sharing is an imminent national priority across many areas of government. REACH is ready to be rapidly deployed into new domains such as:

  • police
  • health
  • justice
  • education
  • transport
  • fisheries
  • primary industries
  • intelligence

Itree won the 2019 Australian Business Award for New Product Innovation. It also won the RegTech Social Impact of the Year 2020 award for this innovation.

“Although developed for child protection, REACH can be configured to any data sharing scenario where records are held in multiple systems, there is no common unique identifier, and data quality may be a challenge” said Daniel Walsh Head of Product, Itree.

A diagram with the word 'Reach' in the middle of a circle. It is surrounded by cars, trucks and nature icons.

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