Stonham chooses ‘robust check-in system’ Lookout Call to safeguard colleagues


30-07-2012

Home Group houses over 120,000 of society’s most vulnerable people a year in 55,000 homes in 200 local authority areas in England, Scotland and Wales, and works with almost 30,000 vulnerable people through over 500 supported housing, justice and health services each year through its care and support arm, Stonham.

Stonham operates its services at a local level to ensure that it meets the needs of the local community, and can engage fully with local authorities and other partner organisations. One of the areas in which Stonham has a long-established presence is Cornwall, where the organisation has been working with the local community for over 25 years.

Stonham currently has 20 services in Cornwall, including residential housing with support from a dedicated and trained staff team. The team in Cornwall also work collaboratively with other agencies to support clients in moving to more independent accommodation within the community.

This broad range of services often requires Stonham staff to be working alone so - as a responsible employer - Stonham knew that it needed a comprehensive lone worker safety system to ensure the safety of colleagues. Having previously used a competitor’s system, Stonham decided to go for mobile-based lone worker safety system Lookout Call.

“We needed a robust check-in and out system for our 50 front line colleagues who are working on their own - both out in the community and within our own services,” explains Gareth Williams, service manager at Stonham.

“The previous system we used relied on human operators to monitor appointment times, and escalate responses if required. Lookout Call is fully automated and removes the possibility of human error, which we know did occasionally happen.

“We were also impressed with the cost, the flexibility of the licensing system, and the ability it gives us to check our usage reports live via the admin portal. With Lookout Call we know that we have a comprehensive lone worker safety system in place that meets health and safety requirements, and satisfies our funders’ expectations in terms of quality provision.”

Why Lookout Call? The team at Stonham carry out a very important job, helping vulnerable people get back on their feet and find a place for themselves within their community. Each client is assessed on an individual basis, with the aim to support their move into independent housing within the community.

Some of Stonham’s residential services are staffed 24 hours per day because the clients’ needs require round the clock support, while others are staffed less intensively. The staff team is crucial to the delivery of this support - but clearly the job is not entirely without risk.

Lookout Call offers Stonham’s managers and their front line colleagues the peace of mind that - if there were to be an emergency - then colleagues would be contacted and help would be sent. This means they can concentrate on the job hand: delivering first rate support services to the most vulnerable in each community.

At its most basic level, the lone worker simply sets up Lookout Call as a direct dial on their mobile phone, calls into the system and leaves a voice message that details their location and activity. The user then sets a timed alarm. If this timed alarm expires without the lone worker entering their pin, or responding to Lookout Call, then the system automatically calls nominated responders and plays back to them the last message that the lone worker left.

“It took a while for all our colleagues to get used to the system but the test period that Lookout Call gave us helped enormously,” says Gareth. “Colleagues tell us they are confident to work alone because they know that the Lookout Call system is there as a safety net, should anything unexpected happen to them.” 

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