Thursday 15 May 2014
Age UK Northumberland is gearing up in its drive to future proof the Home Care service provided to over 800 people across Northumberland. As part of the overhaul Newcastle-based technology and telecoms provider, Activ, has worked alongside both Microsoft and the CareFree Group to roll out a new technology package with the charity which, as well as reducing its IT and mobile telecoms costs, will increase safety and productivity amongst Age UK’s 300 care staff.
The changes follow Age UK Northumberland’s operational restructure of the Support services team that will stand the charity in a stronger position for a healthy future. Historically the charity has had coordinator staff organising the support teams from its HQ in Ashington. These staff rarely had the opportunity to meet their customers on a face-to-face basis due to the vast geographically areas of Northumberland. However, Age UK is moving forward to deliver a more person centred and outcome focused package of support based on a greater understanding of each person’s needs and outcomes.
Each local area in the county will now get its very own Area Team Leader, supporting and leading a team of professional carers to deliver care within their local communities. This will reduce travel time and means that the carers are never far away, bringing a host of benefits for both service users and the staff, who all do such a valuable job.
To assist with these changes, Activ has introduced Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile technology with the Carefree Group across the charity’s 300 handheld devices, enabling care workers to check in and out of people’s homes as they complete their visits, bringing them up to date with location-based technology.
Activ has been able to help Age UK Northumberland to benefit from Microsoft Office 365, which allows personnel to work remotely and flexibly. Microsoft has donated the Microsoft 365 costs as well a huge reduction on the remote Access Software through the ‘tt exchange’ which donates technology to UK-based charities. Activ has also worked with the charity to streamline its IT and telecommunications facilities and continues to provide a technical support service.
Ian Gillespie, director of Activ, said: “As Age UK Northumberland is in the process of changing internal resources across the board, we have helped them consolidate what was a fragmented IT system into one single site in Ashington. As well as being more proficient, it is also more cost effective.
“We have reviewed the client’s mobile phone packages as well as putting in place a full IT support system with internet connectivity, Microsoft Office 365 and cloud services.
“Our on-going technical support service also offers Age UK Northumberland peace of mind that should it require any assistance with either its IT or mobile telecoms it has a single point of contact to ensure issues are resolved as quickly as possible.
“We always strive to provide our clients with the best technological advances and cost effective solutions. We are pleased to have helped increase productivity amongst Age UK’s staff. This location-based service also provides an added safety element, as colleagues know where other team members are and when they have left.”
Gene Goodchild, head of support services at Age UK Northumberland, said: “We have launched a number of changes within the organisation, led by the new strategy put in place by CEO Katherine Shearer and the board, all designed to deliver on-going quality and to future proof our services.
“We run the charity as a private business would be run. Quality of service is a main focus, as is working conditions for our team and of course, our financial performance. With those three things in mind, it made perfect sense for us to work with Activ and implement these changes. They have understood our challenges, and we are looking forward to seeing the difference with the new technology now in place.”
For further information on the technology and telecommunication solutions offered by Activ visit www.helloactiv.co.uk or contact the Activ team on 0191 270 6010. More information on the Home Care services provided by Age UK Northumberland is available www.ageuk.org.uk/northumberland or by calling 0845 1400 088.