Innovation Exchange

Prevention Service - protecting vulnerable residents

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further Information

Traditionally Protective Services (encompassing Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Licensing) have focused on enforcement and regulation to provide members of the public with health and consumer rights protection.  Officers dealt with problems as they occurred and tended to inspect trader’s premises rather than focus on working with the trade to achieve better outcomes and prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

 

East Renfrewshire Council has adopted a new “Preventative” approach in collaboration with public and private partners to tackle the risks of financial and personal harm facing our vulnerable residents.  Residents are reaping personal and financial benefits and are feeling safer and more confident as a result of the new approach, single elements of which have been identified as leading practice for innovation and partnership working at UK level.  We place particular emphasis on protecting our most vulnerable residents.

Theme: Community Safety and Service Transformation

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We have created a 3 year plan that concisely illustrates the range of prevention work to be undertaken in conjunction with private partners.  As part of this we are actively engaging with local residents who would be willing to volunteer on some of the projects.  A significant factor in this type of work is community engagement and identifying our most vulnerable residents in order to protect them from financial harm.  By utilising resident volunteers we help spread the message across East Renfrewshire, particularly to individuals who may not have regular contact with the Council.

 

The team are proactive rather than reactive.  Many of our residents are vulnerable to financial harm via scams (doorstep, telephone, internet, mail).  We work with the resident, their family and 3rd party groups to highlight and introduce the mechanisms to prevent harm and stop cold calling.

 

The Prevention Team draws on expertise from Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing.  As well as tap into resources across the Council, the Team has also been engaging with private sector partners to provide more structured prevention support to the residents of East Renfrewshire.  Our traditional services have been retained but the redesign marks a significant shift in focus to a preventative rather than reactive approach.

 

Our key initiatives include:

 

  • Empowering our residents to avoid scams & nuisance calls
  • Access to reputable tradesmen – Trusted Trader Scheme
  • “Safety In the Park” event - 1,467 primary 7’s attended alcohol, tobacco and food workshops
  • Holistic Approach to Alcohol and Tobacco
  • Informed About Food – Giving parents and children information to make informed choices about the food they consume
  • Enhancing Air Quality – Free vehicle emissions checks available at 17 garages in East Renfrewshire.
  • Safety in the home – prevention advice to make homes safer for children and adults
  • A short video about Prevention aimed at service users

 

We have offered to do a presentation to every Community Council in the area.  The feedback from the presentations clearly demonstrates that the Prevention Team is giving the community what they want, practical solutions to the problems they face and not just advice or reactive enforcement.

 

Combining this range of services to focus specifically on prevention is unique and ambitious and brings together projects which have had outstanding success to date.

We have already achieved positive results across a number of projects led by the Prevention Team.  We have issued over 10,000 prevention packs and directly engaged with over 8,000 residents.  We have created over 300 bespoke prevention packages for our most vulnerable residents with that includes a range of support across a number of services.  In addition, we are currently working with a wide cross section of collaborative partners to share best practice and participate in specific campaigns in order to reach as broad a demographic as possible.

 

Our work so far has shown clear evidence that prevention work results in substantial financial savings for residents and public bodies.  We estimate that the total saving from our prevention plan will be in excess of £2.4 million between residents and public spending saving.

 

2014/15 was a multi award winning year for the team. The call blockers project received a fantastic response. We are sensitive to customer feedback and proud of the positive responses.  Our aim is to keep developing our prevention work for the benefit of our residents. By highlighting the positive feedback and receiving awards we can attract funding, remain sustainable and help more residents.

In terms of learning from the Prevention Team, there is potential to allow cross-service sharing of ideas, best practice and even more positive outcomes for our residents.  Already elements of the service, such as our call blockers project and approach to preventing illegal alcohol sales, have been identified as sector leading.  Furthermore we have worked alongside other Councils on individual projects, such as the Call Blocker initiative, and they have expressed an interest in replicating our holistic prevention model.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Paul Holland

Principle Prevention Officer

East Renfrewshire Council

0141 577 8586

Case study added to site: June 2016

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