Home Safety Advisors (HSA) visit vulnerable adults and families with children under 5 years in their homes to provide them with home safety and security advice tailored to their specific needs. Where appropriate advice is supported with the supply of safety equipment, such as walking stick holders and stairgates.
Fife Cares was originally developed with a focus on older people. Key factors contributed towards identifying a need for the initiative:
The Fife Cares service originated a smaller pilot called Homecheck, which involved home visits and injury prevention advice. Following the end of the pilot period, community safety partners considered how best to identify and support vulnerable older people in Fife. The initiative was brought within the remit of the Fife Community Safety Partnership and developed into what is now Fife Cares.
Fife Cares aims to:
The aims of the initiative have evolved as the remit of Fife Cares has widened to include families with young children and all vulnerable adults, as well as older people, over the years.
Referrals are received from partners, as well as self-referrals from people living in Fife. The service is delivered in a mobile and flexible way. HSAs are equipped with individual tablets. These allow HSAs to accept referrals, record visits and make onward referrals and has greatly reduced administration associated with the service. As a result more time can be spent on visits, which widens the reach and increases the impact of the service. When it is deemed suitable to supply home safety and/or security equipment, this is installed by MATRIX Fife, a supported employment centre.
The service also accesses wider support from the Safer Communities Team. Much of this support is around the ongoing development of the service, providing the link between operational delivery and strategy. This includes close working with Scottish Fire and Rescue partners to ensure collective working towards the strategic aim to ‘keep people safe from fire and unintentional harm’.
Financial pressures are a challenge for the service, with a sense of attempting ‘to do more with less’
Effective data sharing arrangements are a challenge with the service. An agreement with NHS Fife exists, however more work is required to determine what how frequently and the type of information is useful for partners for the agreement to work better.
The Fife Safer Communities team works closely with community safety partners to mitigate these challenges.
Evaluation of the Fife Cares is difficult, however the number of visits undertaken and equipment provided are regularly reported, 6 monthly to local Area Committees and annually as part of wider directorate performance reporting. Much of the evaluation that exists is based on feedback from community safety practitioners and individuals. Where appropriate case studies are used to report on the service.
As the service has developed, it has become apparent that while important, the free installation should not be the main focus. In some cases, it can detract from safety messages. It is more important to focus on how to support and encourage people to keep themselves safe.
It also important to continually consider and reflect on what is needed to keep people safe and secure, ensuring that advice and support is relevant and up to date. For example, when discussing child safety it is no longer as relevant to talk about socket covers but rather highlight dangers of liquid tabs poisonings and blind cords.
The most recent development of the service has been a lottery funded project, led by Fife’s Violence Against Women Partnership, HSAs visit women who have experienced domestic abuse and provide advice on the effective use of existing security and recommendations on enhanced measures.
Find out more at www.fifedirect.org.uk.