We Are Beams (known as Beams) are a UK charity working to support the disabled children, young people and their families across Kent.
As part of their Direct Payment Support Service, Beams are commissioned by the local authority to help families use the funding provided to meet their individual circumstances and needs.
The service is provided by a team of lone workers who visit clients at their homes to offer support and advice. Travelling by country roads and working behind closed doors, Direct Payment Case Workers are exposed to both environmental and people risk.
“Dealing with finances can be overwhelming at the best of times. Many of our families employ support workers directly, adding another layer of responsibility or they need to find alternative services which meet their child’s needs to ensure they spend funding in the best way. Lone working allows us as a charity to support as many families in the community as possible to take the stress out of the process. We understand that lone working does come with a set of risks and we want our employees to feel safe and secure as they do so.” – Karen Dorling, Direct Payment Service Manager.
How StaySafe helped
• Session check-ins to indicate lone workers are safe
• Quick and easy access to a panic alert in an emergency
• Discreet and duress panic options for volatile situations
• In house team monitoring
Why did Beams launch StaySafe?
While families are referred to Beams by the local authority, Case Workers have no prior knowledge of the family before entering their homes. When family are struggling, circumstances can be difficult and create stressful situations.
In some circumstances, a child in the family may pass away, or a re-assessment by the local authority means funding is cut or removed entirely. It is then the responsibility of the Beams employees to arrange recovery of left over funding, which can create a high emotion environment.
Fortunately, Beams employees have experienced little trouble from clients in the past, who are generally happy to receive their support. But as their team of lone workers grow, safety has become an increasing priority for the charity.
Karen Dorling explains; “Over the years we have looked into and discussed a number of systems that would allow us to check in with our lone workers, however, we felt that none of these solutions really provided all of the functionality we were looking for – until we were recommended StaySafe.”
Karen Dorling was shown the StaySafe app by an engineering company using the system to protect their lone workers. Impressed by all the functionality it offered, such as check-ins and discreet panic, Karen got in touch with the StaySafe team.
Soon after, Beams team of case workers were set up on the app and within their own personal monitoring Hub.
Efficient check-ins and alerts
Recognising that periods of travel and working behind closed-doors poses their own set of risks, Beams employees are required to run a session for the entire work period. Check-ins are required when safely arriving at the client’s property, upon leaving the meeting and safely ended when arriving back home. This ensures someone always knows they are safe following a period of travel or following a visit.
Lone Working Employees also received training on all the app features which are particularly useful to the work they do. A discreet panic allows a lone worker to send an alert out of view if they find themselves in a volatile situation, while the duress PIN can be used to appear as though the app has been switched off if confronted by an aggressor.
Team monitoring and response
All Lone employees are set up in the StaySafe Hub and take turns monitoring their colleagues while at the office. Not only does this ensure that there is always someone available to respond to alerts, Beams have also found that being responsible for each other’s safety has improved team morale and well being.
Karen Dorling comments; “Feedback from all employees has been really positive. We all use the app while out and about and the functionality offers everything we wanted. Having all employees set up in the Hub means we are all looking out for each other which has seen real benefits for team morale and bonding. We tested out the alerts and response procedure when we were first set up with StaySafe which meant everyone could see first-hand that the Lone Worker system is there to look out for their safety, rather than to track their every move.”