The knock-on effect of the Coalition’s Big Society is that charities and volunteer groups across the UK are picking up the slack where there have been cut backs to public services.
Charities have always provided much-needed support to the most vulnerable in our society. However, the pressure is now really on following government spending cuts: charities are relying more on donations, at the same time as the need for their services is increasing.
We work with a huge number of charities and volunteer organisations who are under pressure to maintain this vital support – shelters, refuges, addiction services, etc. – effectively on a shoestring.
But these are organisations that face HR pressures just like any other business – including managing lone worker risk. This is often a big issue for charities because they employ case workers and volunteers who are dealing with service users on a one to one basis, often in the client’s own home.
Therefore, they need a system that allows workers to easily check in and out with an update of their movements, and gives them the ability to trigger a panic alarm should something unexpected happen to them.
How to charities tackle lone worker safety?
We speak to many charities who have understandably tried to tackle lone worker risk using a simple (and free!) ‘buddy’ system. This is where workers call a colleague to let them know that they are okay.
This may work for some. But in most cases the lone worker just forgets to check in or their buddy forgets to check on them. Also there is no facility for the lone worker to trigger an alarm should they get into an emergency situation.
The other way many charities currently manage lone worker risk is to use a ‘check in/ out’ book. This operates pretty much on the same principle. Again the flaws are obvious, and it is a difficult system to manage when you have multiple lone workers to look after.
Affordable lone worker safety systems
The automated lone worker safety system is a mature market. There are so many solutions available that is hard to make sense of the noise. But there are simple and affordable solutions available – mobile-systems, in particular, make sense for price sensitive organisations.
All you pay is the license fee avoiding any expensive up-front capital costs.
If you do decide to use an automated lone worker safety system, remember this: it really doesn’t have to cost the earth.
There are a number of systems available catering to different user groups and many of the more advanced systems (with GPS or man-down, for example) will cost more. If you want a simple check in/ out system with automated alarms and panic button facility, then there are providers available who offer genuine value for money, so you can put back hard-fought funds into front-line service provision.
What do some of our clients in the charitable sector have to say about Lookout Call?