From humble beginnings our system was born
What is Refernet?
A safe, secure and local online referral system used by many local Citizens Advice teams across the UK, Refernet enables referrals to be made securely by Advice agencies whom they partner with, in their town, city or region.
Refernet has one task; referring people safely from any organisation, to another – but on a local / regional level, as a private network managed by a trusted entity – like a Citizens Advice Centre, or council for example.
Dedicated to referral
Refernet is purely a dedicated referral system, and is not a case management system. Most larger organisations have sophisticated case management systems already.
Indeed there are so many of them, that it is almost impossible to make links between them. At the other end of the spectrum there are also plenty of small charities with no system at all, just a PC, fax, email, and internet access.
Joining up agencies, large and small, in the digital ‘chaos’ (other than by telephone, email or fax) neither of which are secure or record activity – needs a digital service something like Refernet.
Refernet is a simple ‘grass roots’ service which everyone can understand and brings accountability. When promoting it across a City or Region, the fact that it has a ‘single function’ (the referral), makes this a much easier task. All organisations of any size, are represented on an equal footing when searching the network for a suitable Agency to refer to.
Refernet is not owned by any of the organisations which use it – it is truly independent. So every Advice Agency, large, medium or small can be invited in by the system admin, as equal partners to join the service. This may seem trivial, but particularly when inviting bigger organisations, this is a significant factor which we have become aware of over time – as it is the system Administrators job to invite their partner organisations to join.
Who are we?
Our journey to providing a leading referral system for advice agencies began in 2005.
We come from a design led web services background where we have expertise in supplying a referral service for the motor industry.
The Refernet story began when we were invited to work for the Legal Services Commission in Brighton, to work with on a database service and CD and print project.
Developing our system
Our work there led quickly to an understanding of the need for an online referral service to further enhance the efficiency within this sector.
We then expanded the remit into producing a service which would provide referrals management for multiple agencies in local and regional areas, adapting to new circimstances – like the now highly topical Social Prescribing requirement for GP surgeries for example.
The Citizens Advice service in the UK is a nationwide franchise offering help to citizens across all aspects of social need, and Refernet’s early implementation proved ideal for this sector.
As of mid 2018, our new website provides a resource which now matches the system User Interface, providing mobile and tablet friendly screens, and even greater simplicity and ease of use. It has greater adaptability for the various uses our customers need, and perhaps most importantly, the pricing structure makes Refernet very cost effective for even the smallest organisations.