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February 13, 2017

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Case study: protecting over 200 lone workers at Serco

Serco uses SoloProtectIn this case study,  SoloProtect explain how they worked together with Serco to deliver protection to over 200 lone workers helping to deliver the COMPASS project with the UK Border Agency. 

The case:

In 2012 Serco Group plc (Serco), announced that it had signed a contract with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to deliver the COMPASS project, providing accommodation, associated services and transport for asylum applicants in two regions of the UK.

COMPASS, or ‘Commercial and Operational Managers Procuring of Asylum Support Services’, replaced more than 20 UKBA contracts for accommodation and transport of asylum applicants and their families, improving service standards whilst delivering considerable savings to the taxpayer.

Serco is now the prime contractor for the North West and Scotland & Ireland. Responsibility includes initial short-term accommodation for asylum applicants; dispersed accommodation after their application is processed, transportation to and between accommodation, and the related process support to these operations.

With over 220 lone workers attached to the COMPASS team, it was important Serco understood their duty of care to their employees. Lee Horne, the business support and IT manager worked alongside other management colleagues responsible for lone worker safety to deliver a high standard of staff welfare.

The solution

Serco decided to go with SoloProtect’s product: Identicom.

It is designed to look and feel like a standard identity card, it should be close to hand and discreet to use.

It is designed to fit a range of personnel and lone worker applications, whether primarily facing ‘people risk’ (arising from social interaction – potential verbal abuse and attack) or ‘environmental risk’ (potential for incapacitation, commonly referred to as a ‘Man Down’ (incapacitation), due to illness or a sudden trip or fall).

Ironing out the problems

One of the main problems that Lee identified was that Serco weren’t using the SoloProtect devices to its full potential. Staff were not engaged and the company was in danger of not getting a return on their investment.

With the aim of raising awareness and lowering the risk of danger to staff, a project was established to maximize the use of the device.

It was important for Lee to fully understand the risks that faced Serco lone workers, a list including, but not limited to:

  • working with vulnerable people;
  • evening or night work; and
  • driver related risk.

With a mixture of staff training and on-going communication, the Serco staff began to engage and, as a result, the intended device usage increased.

The results

Lee Horne said: “The safety of our staff, service users and the public is paramount in what we do. The SoloProtect device not only provides a visible deterrent but also gives staff the reassurance that, if there were an incident, they would get the help that was needed.

“Our aim is to ensure our staff get home safe, the SoloProtect device helps us do that.”

Serco Housing Officer Chris Mairs believes the device is ‘simple and effective’ and he feels safer knowing the device is close at hand.

“Although I am confident in working with my Service Users I also understand the need for protection around the unknown or hostile situations, so having the device gives me peace of mind should I ever need to use it,” he said.

By identifying that the device was not being used to its full value and training stafff appropriately, Lee and the management team were able to empower the company’s employees.

Lone working encompasses both social and environmental risk, it affects all industries, plus both full and part-time staff as well as employees at every level of an organisation.

The SoloProtect lone worker solution is fully managed, BS8484 and EN50518 approved, and designed to give employers an easy and effective way to protect all types of lone worker.

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