Havebury, a not-for-profit charity, manages over 6,000 affordable homes in Suffolk and works closely with local authorities, agencies and other housing associations to meet local social housing needs and to provide community services. Many of these services are customer facing, requiring employees to deal with the public, often alone. On occasions, these dealings can become confrontational, leading to verbal and physical abuse. Work related violence is the biggest contributor to stress, of which Housing sector workers are most susceptible to.
Nationally, there are over 120,000 housing officers and social workers in the UK. So, it’s alarming to hear statistics such as those reported by Inside Housing, which found within a period of 14 months (January 2012 – March 2013), 4,876 verbal or physical assaults had taken place on housing workers. That’s an average of 11 per day!
Other alarming statistics, such as those reported by personal safety charity The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, reveals that more than one in ten housing workers has been taken hostage at some point in their career. Both statistics are shocking, but highlights the very real and dangerous threats faced by lone working housing staff.
Sarah Moulding, from Havebury’s Health, Safety and Facilities team explains why the organisation chose Skyguard to backup and protect its wide range of lone workers. “We needed a system in place where our customer facing employees, who encounter lone working, have a means to call for help quickly and discreetly.”
“We chose Skyguard as they offered a value-for-money comprehensively safe system, which includes raising an SOS alarm, GPS tracking and a seamless 24/7 service which is not restricted to work hours.”
Skyguard are Europe’s leading personal safety service for lone workers and vulnerable individuals and are fully accredited to the highest industry standards (BS8484:2016, BS5979: Category II and the Police’s Secured by Design). Skyguard’s range of personal alarms and mobile phone software solutions, both used by Havebury, directly link to a dedicated Incident Management Centre (IMC), where trained Controllers are on hand 24/7 to deal specifically with Skyguard alarms.
Whilst personal safety devices and mobile apps cannot prevent assaults, accidents and injuries from occurring, they do give users the ability to call for help quickly and easily in the event of any emergency. With one button alarm activation, two-way voice communications and GPS technology fitted into every Skyguard personal safety device and Smartphone solution, help is always at hand.
As soon as an alarm is raised, Skyguard Controllers will know who is calling for help and where they are. They’ll listen in to what is happening and talk and reassure if it’s safe to do so. They’ll assess the situation and summon the right course of action, calling the emergency services if needed. They also have direct links to all of the UK’s Police force’s control rooms, bypassing the 999 system and guaranteeing a faster response.
To ensure the Havebury team were comfortable in using the service, Skyguard conducted face-to-face end user training, explaining how it all works.
Sarah continues, “Staff came away feeling more confident and learning about additional features such as how to send their GPS position.”
Position reports will record the user’s location at a specific date and time and can be sent automatically at regular intervals or manually whenever needed, at the touch of a button.
The recorded location can be viewed via an online map on the Customer Service Centre portal. Detailed lone worker position reports can be created, scheduled and downloaded – all tailored to your specific instructions.
Sarah noted how impressed Havebury was with the Customer Service Centre (CSC) – a secure, online web portal where the Health, Safety and Facilities team can administer their account and run activity reports at any time.
The CSC portal has been designed with user accessibility in mind; therefore it can be accessed via any web browser from any computer, without the need for installing any software. The CSC allows a comprehensive and unparalleled suite of reports to be run by client administrators, covering every aspect of Skyguard’s service.
Havebury Housing Partnership is one of over fifty Housing Associations now using Skyguard’s service on a daily basis across the UK.