"The app and the front end system are so easy for us all to use, it really is simple."
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council switched from a hard-to-use lone worker device, to the StaySafe Lone Worker app and wearable V.BTTN, which employees can use to discreetly signal for help in an emergency.
There has also been a significant cost saving to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council by switching to the app. StaySafe is approximately half the cost of their previous solution, and the cost includes both the app and wearable device.
Council employees are at risk when working in the community
Unfortunately the risk of a physical attack is high for many of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council lone workers. The majority of lone workers within the council work in social services, carrying out home visits, and supporting people in their home environment.
Their social services and the housing benefits teams often visit the same households repeatedly as part of a long-term support plan. Whilst employees are usually able to build a good rapport with clients, the nature of their work means that their meetings can sometimes be challenging.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council also employs Enforcement Officers, who work within debt recovery. These employees are required to visit multiple different properties and can be faced with unpredictable and aggressive behaviour. Lone workers also carry out checks on homeless people throughout the town.
Previous solution was difficult to use and manage
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council already had a lone worker device in place, but they found that was difficult for their employees to navigate. It also didn’t have a wearable technology option which would allow staff to signal for help without having to unlock their phone. This all led to a problematic process if a lone worker was attacked.
In addition, the old system required a lot of work to get users up and running. This was not only time consuming, but it also meant that users were not keen on using the system, which could leave them at risk.
“We already had a lone worker device in place, but it wasn’t user friendly, and it didn’t have a wearable device to activate. It was quite problematic too if one of our lone workers was attacked. Now all our lone workers have the app and the V.BTTN as standard,” says Paul Leonard, Control Room Manager at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Staff can use the wearable V.BTTN to call for help
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council now has approximately 370 lone workers using the StaySafe app, which is also paired with a small and discreet wearable V.BTTN device.
Pairing the V.BTTN with the StaySafe app provides a flexible option for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s lone workers. When visiting clients, or driving between appointments, lone workers may not always have easy access to their phone, but the V.BTTN can be attached to a work belt, stuck to the car dashboard, or in a pocket to ensure staff can still check-in and raise an alarm at all times.
“I’ve introduced the wearable device as a matter of course, everyone who is setup on the app is given the V.BTTN too,” adds Leonard.
The V.BTTN is connected to employees’ smartphones via Bluetooth. Employees can click or hold the button to check-in or send their employer a panic alert. It also works for non-movement alerts, automatically triggering an alarm if it detects a fall.
Streamlined user management and reporting
Not only has Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council found the StaySafe solution much easier for their lone workers to use, it is also easier for them to manage. The council manages their hub and escalation procedures in-house, and completed their NSI accreditation in September 2021 as part of their wider commitment to safety and security.
The Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council control room can easily see who is online, and their location, to ensure that help is sent quickly in an emergency. They can also manage users on the cloud-based hub, view emergency procedures, and access usage reports.
Easy onboarding and comprehensive training
StaySafe worked closely with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council during the on-boarding and training process to ensure that the roll out of the solution was smooth and all users understood how to use the app. This included tailored training packages, in-app training, and on-going support from StaySafe’s Customer Support team.
The user-friendly solution has made a big difference to Paul and his team, he adds, “the app and the front end system are so easy for us all to use, it really is simple.”
Regular check-ins ensure staff are safe throughout the day
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council uses StaySafe’s scheduled check-in feature. The majority of the council’s lone workers set 4-hour sessions within the app when they are out in the community, and check-in every hour via the app or V.BTTN. This ensures that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council get regular confirmation their staff are safe throughout the day and, should an employee fail to check-in when expected, steps can be taken immediately to ensure their safety.
“We work with a lot of councils and know the risks their lone workers face. Pairing the app with the V.BTTN means that employees can check-in or signal for help easily and discreetly, which is incredibly important when staff are working in unpredictable situations. We’ve also worked hard to make our induction and rollout process easy for everyone involved, so that switching over 300+ employees isn’t a headache,” says Don Cameron, CEO at StaySafe.
From ease of use, through to comprehensive training and support, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council have seen a number of benefits from switching to the StaySafe app. For more information and to book a demonstration, click here.