Receiving a Contact or Written Referral (Family Connect)
1. Receiving a Contact
General Practice Guidance
Every contact should be managed in a professional manner at all times.
Establish whether the contact is being made by the person about whom it relates. If not, confirm that consent has been given or that the person has the legal authority to act on the person's behalf.
Take a strengths based approach during any conversation or written communication.
Take opportunities to provide information and advice or to discuss prevention services.
Always allow sufficient time for the contact so that the person can say everything they want to say and ask any questions they may have.
Where a message has been left for you always call back as soon as possible and apologise for any delays or inconvenience caused.
Make sure you are satisfied that the person has understood what you have communicated to them. Consider an alternative method of contact if they appear to have difficulty in doing so (for example, e-mail contact or face to face contact) or consider the need to assess mental capacity (to access the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Resource and Practice Toolkit click here).
Record all contacts in a proportionate way, capturing all relevant detail and key points and actions.
Follow up on any actions agreed in a timely way and keep the person updated on progress.
Receiving a Contact by telephone
Endeavour to answer telephone contacts in a timely way (wherever possible between 3-5 rings).
Be sure to give the person calling your name, your role and your contact number for future reference.
Receiving E-mail Communication
Acknowledge all e-mail communication so the sender knows the e-mail has been received, even if a response to any query cannot be given straight away.
Where a response is not given straight away, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from the service again.
Make sure that the signature at the bottom of any e-mail you send is correct and includes your name, your role and your contact number for the sender's future reference.
If an e-mail communication is being forwarded to another person or service for action let the sender know and explain why.
Where the response is going to be lengthy or complex establish whether the person would prefer to be contacted in another way (for example by telephone or face to face).
Before ending an e-mail communication chain, make sure that you are satisfied the sender is happy with the response and has no further questions.
Receiving Text Communication
Acknowledge all text communication so the sender knows the text has been received, even if a response to any query cannot be given straight away.
Make sure that your name, your role and your contact number is included in any text response made.
Where a response cannot be given straight away, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from the service again.
Text communication, while convenient may not be the most appropriate way to communicate complex, lengthy or sensitive information. Unless the query is straightforward or the person specifically requests a text response try to establish whether there is an alternative method of contact that can be used (for example e-mail, telephone contact or face to face contact).
Before ending a text communication chain, make sure that you are satisfied the sender is happy with the response and has no further questions.
Receiving Communication by Letter
Letters should be opened on the day that they are received and passed to the most appropriate person to respond.
Letters marked as 'urgent' should be treated as such until there is evidence that this is not the case.
Acknowledgement of the letter should be provided whenever requested, whenever the letter is formal (for example from a Solicitor or a Court) or whenever there is likely to be a delay in response to the letter from the service.
Where a response cannot be given in a timely way, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender (either through a letter or another available method of contact e.g. telephone) what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from the service again.
When responding in writing or by e-mail make sure that your name, your role and your contact number is included in any response made.Written responses should be made on Local Authority headed paper so that the sender has confidence in the validity of the response.
2. Receiving a Written Referral
The Information Required
The following information should be included in a referral:
- All personal details, including the persons/carer's full name (and also preferred name or previous surname), address and preferred contact details, date of birth, national insurance number and NHS number;
- The name, relationship and contact details of the person making the referral (if not the person/carer themselves);
- When and how the person/carer consented to the referral;
- If the person/carer has not consented to the referral, was a mental capacity assessment carried out and is the referral being made under Best Interests;
- What the presenting issue is from the person's/carer's perspective and what they would like to happen;
- What the presenting issue is from the referrer's point of view (if the referrer is not the person/carer) and what action they may recommend;
- What options have been considered with the person/carer to resolve the issue so far, including what support the person/carer has had from family and community networks;
- What information and advice has been provided to the person/carer or what information and advice may be required;
- What prevention services have been used, considered or may be of benefit;
- Any specific communication needs of the person/carer that need to be considered so they can understand and be involved in any adult Care and Support process;
- Whether the person/carer is likely to have substantial difficulty in any adult Care and Support process, and if so whether an independent advocate has been considered;
- Details of any previous or current Care and Support services (whether the Local Authority is providing them or not);
- With the person's/carer's consent the name and contact details of anyone involved in their life who should be involved in any assessment (family member, friend or professional); and
- Any other information deemed relevant by the person/carer or referrer (if the referrer is not the person/carer).
Receiving a Written Referral
When a referral is received it should be checked to make sure that it contains all of the required information.
Where information is not comprehensive professional judgement should be used about the need to either:
- Return the referral to the person who made it with a request for the additional information required;
- Contact the person who made the referral to obtain the additional information required; or
- Process the referral and seek the additional information required at a later stage.
This decision should be made on a case by case basis and will depend on factors such as:
- The level of information missing;
- The risk posed to the person or their carer as a result of any delay in processing the referral;
- The urgency of intervention required; and
- The complexity of the apparent need.
Recording a Referral
A record of the referral should be made soon as it is received, even if the outcome of the referral is not yet clear.
3. Adding a new Personal Record
Where the person making a contact or referral (or the person about whom the contact or referral is about) is not already known to the Local Authority a new personal record will need to be created in order to:
- Record the contact;
- Record any information gathering that may take place; and
- Record the outcome of the contact or referral.