Cheshire West and Chester Council

The Customer

The Integrated Early Support (IES) Service at Cheshire West and Chester Council has turned to Peoplesafe to protect over 100 employees who carry out lone worker visits.

The Integrated Early Support Service is an innovative multi-agency service that was established in October 2013. Early help for families, Community Safety, Education Welfare and Young People’s Services are all part of the service.

Together IES have improved the efficiency, effectiveness and overall experience of public services for children, families and vulnerable people in West Cheshire.

Integrated Early Support model:

  • Ensures that early intervention is at the heart of our approach for families with multiple and complex needs and victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse
  • Delivers a model with a lasting solution, to stop the multiple intervention cycle and reduce long term demand for acute and reactive services
  • Implement a shared agenda to deliver not only sustainable but improved outcomes for families, providing the right support for those in need, at the right time, in the right place from the right people and
  • Reduce costs on the public purse.

The IES service is ambitious and is evolving all the time. Progress has been fast-paced with innovative changes implemented to deliver improved outcomes for families.

The Challenge

IES works with children, families, and individuals who have a variety of complex needs. These needs can include school attendance, mental health, drug and alcohol misuse, domestic violence, and anti-social behaviour and crime.

Due to the nature of their role, IES workers often work alone, visiting families and individuals in their homes and are exposed to a number of factors which can include increased risk of injury or assault.  For this reason, IES deemed it necessary to invest in a reliable and trusted lone worker protection system, mitigating the risks faced by their lone working employees.

Identifying the risks imposed on their workers and the necessity to protect them, Nicky Hodkin-Brown, Senior Performance and Support Officer mentioned: “Our workers carry out home visits and are often lone working, so for the Integrated Early Support service our worker’s safety was paramount.”

A study commissioned by the personal safety charity, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust found that 81% of Local Authority lone workers were concerned about violence and aggression, and a disturbing one in ten had actually been physically assaulted.

The Solution

Cheshire West and Chester Council had already adopted an alternative lone worker protection system but found that this didn’t suit their complex requirements as teams integrated into the service.  Nicky continued: “it made sense for us to contact Peoplesafe to see what other products were on the market and fit for purpose for our service.”

The Council decided that in order to provide the utmost level of safety for their lone workers, they would invest in Peoplesafe’s state-of-the-art MicroGuard personal safety device.

The MicroGuard is the most advanced and compact GPS personal safety alarm, exclusively designed for lone workers. With large numbers of local authority lone workers exposed to risks, it was important for the Council to select a device that was discreet, reliable, and easy to use.

The MicroGuard enables users to raise an alert simply by pressing the device’s central SOS button. This connects them to Peoplesafe’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) where two-way audio enables a trained Alarm Controller to either listen in to the situation, speak if it is safe to do so, and summon the appropriate emergency response.

The flexible design of the MicroGuard enables staff to wear the device discreetly in a number of ways – as a pendant on a lanyard or ID card, attached to a belt holster, or carried as a keyring. This is a crucial element of the device, allowing it to remain unseen by an aggressor in potentially dangerous situations.

A voice memo feature also allows the user to leave pre-alert messages with details of where they are going and who they are meeting. Peoplesafe Alarm Controllers can then listen to this information as soon as an alarm is raised.

Certified to the highest industry standards, including Secured by Design and BS 8484, Peoplesafe are able to summon the highest level of police response where necessary to assist the user.

The Benefits

Integrated Early Support Service has gained reassurance from the service provided by Peoplesafe.

“We were impressed with the quick response from when our IES workers hit the SOS button to the ARC responding; how solution focused and helpful our Peoplesafe Account manager has been in meeting our needs; the cost-effectiveness of the devices; how easy the online secure portal is to operate and run reports and finally, the support received from customer support.”
Nicky Hodkin-Brown, Senior Performance and Support Officer

IES workers who work with children, their families and individuals – giving vital support, advice and guidance – now have the peace of mind that emergency backup is in place should they need it at the press of a button.

Having been completely satisfied with the Peoplesafe product and service provision, the service has already recommended the safety service to other areas within the Council and assured that they would willingly and happily recommend Peoplesafe to external companies also.

Not only do the alarms provide security and assurance for staff at the organisation, but they can also feel confident that they are contributing towards their Duty of Care to employees.

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