Harm Centred Approach

As an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), we have been specialising in ASB case management for over 15 years now. During this time, along with ASB practitioners, we have seen some dramatic changes in the management of antisocial behaviour (albeit from a different perspective). We believe that we are in a fairly unique position to comment upon the experiences of developing software tools and solutions for case management. It has been crucial to our success that we have engaged in very close relationships with our clients, to ensure that we continue to deliver solutions that are effective, useable and fit for purpose.

Traditionally, we have seen the majority of our clients manage ASB cases by way of categorising and sub categorising the case. Once categorised, workflow and process rules then assist in managing that case based upon that category. This method also allows experienced officers to use their knowledge to steer a case in a different direction should they need to.

In the past this has worked well, as it provides high priority case categories with high priority deadlines and workflow, ensuring categories such as Domestic Abuse and Physical Violence are dealt with urgency and priority, striving to minimise the vulnerability of the victims.

Clearly, what has subsequently become evident, is that low level category ASB which is treated accordingly, can be wholly inadequate when the victim is of a vulnerable nature. Individuals experiencing what many class as lower level ASB can be disproportionally affected due to their circumstances. ASB category centric case management relies heavily on experienced officers using their knowledge to ensure low level cases with high level vulnerable victims are dealt with in a different manner or process to those where the victim is less vulnerable.

With the increasing trend in the reduction of specialist ASB teams, this appears to be something of real concern.

The use of risk assessments to identify the vulnerability of an individual is nothing new and has been used widely for some time, however they are often undertaken at the point of an interview which is often some considerable time after the initial report is received. It is not unknown for a risk assessment to have lead time of up to 2 weeks depending upon the category of ASB that triggered it.

Here at ReACT, we have seen many of our clients make a definite shift to a harm centred approach to case management. The harm centred approach requires that cases are prioritised not by ASB category but by how vulnerable an individual or their family is. If applied successfully a harm centred approach will identify repeat victims in addition to those that are most vulnerable.

It is fundamental in a harm centred approach that a risk assessment where possible, is completed at the time and point of complaint, regardless of the source (i.e. Telephone, email, web portal etc.) With many risk assessments being lengthy and consisting of 20 plus questions that need answers in order to be scored and rated, completing an assessment is a challenge and difficult to achieve at point of complaint.

The ReACT triage assessment is now becoming increasingly popular; whereby only 3 or 4 key questions require answers. In some cases, these answers may even by ascertained from the information provided by the complaint. As an example; ‘are you unable to stay in your own home tonight’ asked during a conversion can provide part of the triage score for ranking as a high priory. Other questions may centre around an individual’s health, mental or emotional well-being and their ability to carry out a normal day to day routine without fear or intimidation. Early identification can result in early provision of extra support or help.

Contact your Account Manager if you would like to discuss how ReACT can help you with a Harm Centred Approach to recording and managing antisocial behaviour.