The arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) had a lone worker system in place which they identified as a concern due to inconsistent use. The staff that used the mobile lone worker system raised concerns about the difficulties they experienced. BCH investigated several solutions before they came to Peoplesafe.
“Feedback from frontline staff raised concerns. They could not summon immediate help in an emergency and the system did not give this level of protection. This was a key reason for BCH to look at alternatives. We wanted to make sure we supported our lone workers”, says Denise Williams, Head of Service Housing Operations. “The solution we used was inefficient in an emergency, it was reliant on the staff member not to log back into the system and the call to time out before an alert activated. Every log with this system required the staff to use a pin number which staff saw as a stumbling block”
“By equipping our staff with the right training and devices, we are empowering them to go out and do their jobs with confidence.”
A consulting process with the BCH senior team identified that most of their lone workers were customer facing, some with higher risk roles than others. A pilot took place to engage lone worker staff such as the Services Team, Asset Management and Officers from across the different Housing Services, and issue them with Identicom devices. The pilot identified that BCH would use a mixture of Identicom devices and the mobile application, with both systems providing them with the ability to access immediate help in an emergency.
Worn around the neck, the Identicom device resembles an ID badge, to activate a red alert, users can either press a ‘panic button’ on the back of the device or rip the cord. The mobile application loaded on to operative’s smartphones has the same ability to activate a red alert.
Training was an essential part of the project, for both users of the Identicom and the app. BCH chose additional personal safety training for their employees besides device training. This is ongoing and refresher courses will run every 18 months.
Denise feels an important part of the success of the project was due to the thorough consulting and trials they carried out with staff before implementation. She says; “We ran an initial trial and throughout this time we gathered feedback through surveys, questionnaires and consultations. We then used this feedback to find training requirements, and it helped staff feel involved.”
By equipping their lone workers with the right skills and solution, Blackpool Coastal Housing is supporting one of their core values – to ‘empower staff’. “Our frontline staff are happy knowing the system they use is effective and that they are confident using it,” concludes Denise. “Nothing could be more empowering than that.