1. The Access and Information Service

See also Information and Advice.

Access and Information is the first stage in the customer journey providing a single point of contact for all calls and enquiries to Adult Services. A wide variety and number of calls are received by adult social care and it is important that customers get the right response to their enquiry in a timely manner. The practitioner receiving the call from the adult with care and support needs, their carer or a professional, will discuss the query with the caller to ensure they are referred to the right service in a timely manner. This process is called screening.

The team should resolve all questions and requests so far as they are able. The team should also ensure that action is taken to ensure the immediate safety of adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect including initial assessment, responding to ‘no replies’ and referral to Adult Safeguarding Team as appropriate (see Adult Safeguarding).

The team should also refer into the appropriate team in Adult Services and are able to give information and make referrals to community based and voluntary sector resources.

1.1 Timescales

All First point of Contact assessments will commence within 48 hours in order to ensure a timely response and to avoid backlogs.

The First Point of Contact/ Duty Team will prioritise in priority of urgency, and will respond accordingly. They will assess at the point of taking details to determine that an assessment is required. All assessments will be completed in 28 days of the first contact. Where a matter is of an urgent nature the assessment should be completed in 14 days.

Service users (carers, relative, next of kin if appropriate) must always be notified at the start of any assessment to confirm arrangements which must be sent within 24 hours of contact or via email or telephone.

In emergency situations First Point of Contact will provide an immediate response. Such situations will require an initial assessment of immediate risk and support services will be provided subject to meet these needs, subject to a fuller detailed and updated assessment.

2. Outputs and Outcomes

The outputs from this service are:

  • signposting: advice and information offered and enquiry closed;
  • referral on: to next stage of customer journey, for example assessment, reablement, care management;
  • referral on: to community provision, voluntary sector, health, housing, leisure, community safety and so on;
  • amendment to care and support plan;
  • provision of one off pieces of equipment;
  • assessment to ensure immediate safety including response to ‘no replies;
  • action to ensure immediate safety;
  • referral within the adult safeguarding procedures.

The outcomes from this service are:

  • reduced delay and waiting times for service;
  • increased numbers of referrals to right place first time;
  • increased efficiency, reduced costs, reduced handoffs;
  • increased numbers of people enabled to remain independent in their own homes;
  • increased numbers of people accessing local community based services;
  • increased use of web based Information and Advice Service;
  • reduced demand on Adult Services measured.