Following substantial budget cuts, Bromford Housing had to make difficult decision to decommission the community care alarm service. Welbeing worked with Bromford to deliver a cost effective, flexible solution based on the needs of their clients and service users.
Following substantial budget cuts, County Councils throughout the country have had to make difficult decisions and the majority have cut their Supporting People funding for care alarm provision. That, coupled with ageing fixed care alarm technology, led Bromford to review the best options for customers. After consulting with over 1000 customers and their families, it was agreed to decommission the community care alarm service and allow the customer to choose their own telecare provider based on their current needs. Bromford approached Welbeing to partner with them.
Welbeing worked with Bromford to deliver a cost effective, flexible solution based on the needs of their clients and service users. Welbeing worked with Bromford to develop a bespoke phased implementation plan to ensure all stages were carried out in a timely manner and had full traceability of actions. From the outset customer and staff communication were vital to the success of the project, as were consulting with vulnerable people who were no longer getting a reduced (or free) service.
Welbeing provided support in all areas of communication ensuring that the messages and information were clear and sensitively handled. For example, rather than group consultations, customers where contacted by letter and given a time and date for an individual home visit. Welbeing then carried out in-home demonstrations with customers individually. Customers who chose to transfer to Welbeing as a private customer became part of the installation programme to install new dispersed telecare equipment. Many customers also chose local providers based on the advice and guidance provided by Welbeing.
The project exceeded expectations with Bromford being very happy with the results. Customer feedback showed that many saw the benefits in the freedom to choose their own telecare provider, whilst others who had the equipment but did not need it were able to opt out entirely. The project resulted in 966 alarms being successfully decommissioned and about a quarter of customers (who purchased alarms) deciding to transfer to Welbeing as a private customer.
Customers have praised the excellent service from Welbeing since converting to private customers, specifically around response times for answering a call and the politeness of the contact centre staff. Bromford were able to make significant cost savings of approx. £150,000 from a reduction in telephone line costs for hardwired schemes and a reduction in costs for the telecare monitoring and maintenance contracts. There was also a reduction in the number of failed units and error calls due to new equipment being installed, reducing costs and customer complaints.
Bromford said the knowledge gained from working with Welbeing has been great and that working as a true partnership has been very beneficial for everyone – particularly customers. Bromford praised the very personalised service that the most vulnerable customers received from Welbeing, commenting that it showed they genuinely cared about the customers rather than looking at it from a sales perspective. Regular contact between both organisations has been key. Bromford praised Fran Taberner, Welbeing’s Regional Contracts Manager, for always being on hand when support was needed; her expertise, and working to ensure that all lessons learned from Phase I were implemented during Phase II of the project.
“I wanted to share some feedback and make my own comments about working with Welbeing over the last 12 months and as we approach the home straight with our project to decommission Care Alarms. When we started the decommissioning journey we knew it would be challenging and complex; that we would be venturing into unknown territory, and supporting some of our most vulnerable customers to make the right choices for their future. From the outset the time, advice and knowledge you and the Welbeing team shared with us has been invaluable. Not only have you provided technical knowledge and guidance on how to approach aspects of this high-profile project, you worked with our customers and my team to deliver a personalised service. I have been impressed and heartened by your commitmentto doing the right thing for the customer, regardless of whether or not that led to a ‘sale’ for Welbeing. And I have appreciated your robust challenges to ensure I sensor-checked whether or not the project was taking the right route. On top of all that, you are lovely people, and a pleasure to work with.”
Jane Turner-Bragg, Head of older People Services at Bromford Housing