“Our workers gain reassurance that there is an effective lone worker system and protocols in place if for any reason a visit was to go awry”
Gateway Family Services is a Community Interest Company which provides vital services to the communities in and around Birmingham and the West Midlands. The not-for-profit organisation works in partnership with the NHS and Local Authorities. They provide health and well-being services with the common theme of “people who need help”.
Health and well-being is at the heart of Gateway who offer support via their Pregnancy Outreach Worker Services and Health Trainers. They give one-to-one advice to vulnerable clients out in the community. These employees, along with volunteers, often work alone.
There are hazards to consider when out working with clients and this can be amplified whilst working alone. Should one face threats of abuse and assault, become a victim of an accident or fall ill, without immediate help at hand, these situations can become critical.
If such scenarios occur, organisations employing lone workers can be subject to rigorous health and safety legislation. Prosecution can lead to crippling fines, loss of staff confidence, extended sick leave, tarnished reputations and even custodial sentences for those responsible for the welfare of employees.
Danny Dhadda, who manages one of the Outreach teams for Gateway explains why they chose Guardian24 as a solution to protect their lone workers.
“We were looking for a new system to support our Outreach workers in their day to day roles when in the community supporting clients. Having looked around for various providers we found Guardian24 to be reliable. One of the managers had experience of using Guardian24 in a previous role and said how effective it was in providing Lone Working support.”
Gateway opted for Guardian24’s Smartphone Application and ordered 60 licences for their lone workers. Available on all major operating platforms, the application gives users the ability to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency. It also allows lone workers to log in and out of daily tasks, leaving details of their location and the expected duration. If an activity over runs Guardian24 will automatically call the lone worker to verify their safety. If the lone worker cannot be reached a nominated respondent will be notified informing them of the overrun activity. This is a feature which Gateway have found invaluable.
“Fortunately no one has had to genuinely raise the alarm,” explains Danny. “But we have had a series of overruns where the support worker is not contactable. However, with the detail process and protocols that we set up, we managed to locate the individuals. Unfortunately one incident resulted in us having to contact the Police as per our protocols, but it ensured that we manage to locate the member of staff and they were safe. It also gave that individual the reassurance that the system works.”
“When we delivered the training, we did mock calls to show them how Guardian24 worked in various scenarios. For example, a routine overrun, a panic button alert and a duress call using a PIN number. Seeing this gave them the reassurance of how effective it is. They have also been told that they could use it on public transport if they felt unsafe at any time.”
Danny goes on to explain the most impressive aspects of the service. “It’s the speed at which we can be informed as an On-call Manager that a visit has overrun and the fact that an individual can be located through GPS if an incident was to occur. We have clear protocols for a genuine emergency, and code words that Guardian24 Alarm Receiving Centre can listen out for if they need to. It is also quick to log an activity.”