Central and Cecil Housing Trust

“We didn’t want to just rely on mobile phones” was the underlying premise when Central and Cecil Housing Trust (CCHT) approached Peoplesafe looking to better protect their lone workers.

The charitable housing trust runs eight care homes and a mixture of over 1,000 sheltered and supported housing properties across London and within the boundaries of the M25.

A recent nationwide survey by reputable industry magazine, Inside Housing found that nearly 7 out of 10 frontline housing workers had faced abuse in the last year. Some reported being punched, kicked, attacked with a weapon and even taken hostage. 40% of responders said they failed to report such instances to their employers with most commenting that “it’s just part of the job.”

Staff reductions across the industry have made it more likely that employees would work on their own as a result.

CCHT take any assaults against their staff very seriously. Although they had a lone worker policy in place which included dynamic risk assessments and the use of mobile phones for backup and support, they felt the means to call for help in the event of an incident were now inadequate.

Can a lone worker be expected to make a phone call to the emergency services, line manager or other contact if they find themselves in a hostile, dangerous or threatening situation? The time it takes to unlock the keypad, make the call and explain the situation – including their location, takes too long, especially when the user is potentially under extreme pressure or in distress. It’s hardly discreet either; and what if an incident occurs in unsociable hours?

With this in mind, The Trust began discussions with Peoplesafe about sourcing a dedicated, discreet personal safety device. With over 150 other Housing Associations as customers, the Trust felt Peoplesafe were best placed to handle their lone worker’s safety. Subsequently, a trial of the service was undertaken and before the period had ended, CCHT had already placed an order for 50 MySOS personal alarms. Implementation and roll-out of the units was complete before CCHT’s incumbent system’s contract had ended.

“It was the best product available that met our needs. We have a variety of roles that undertake lone working or potentially pose a risk; Sheltered & Support Housing Managers, Housing Support Officers, Caretakers… the list goes on.”

Ron Moody, Health & Safety Manager

The MySOS –a keyfob-style GPS personal alarm connects directly to Peoplesafe’s fully accredited Alarm Receiving Centre where professional Incident Managers will handle any SOS alarm from start to end. The service is proven in use and has come to the aid of those in need, including life-threatening scenarios. With direct access to police control rooms, Peoplesafe can bypass the 999 service saving vital minutes in the process.

Now, with a BS 8484:2016 accredited solution in place, all the user needs to do is press one button. Their location and information is conveyed automatically to the Alarm Receiving Centre within seconds. From there, the situation is promptly and calmly dealt with. No need for scrambling around for a mobile phone. No need to convey their details, including their whereabouts.

“It’s a great device,” continues Moody. “It helps boost the confidence of our lone workers, knowing that help can be made available quickly. It’s a great product; a great service.”