News


Refernet supports Luton Crisis Advice and Support project

Refernet supported the recent Citizens Advice Luton launch event for the Luton Crisis Advice and Support Project, funded by the Big Lottery Help Through Crisis Fund - a five year strategic partnership with Luton Foodbank and the Law Centre that’s designed to help local residents in hardship to help themselves.

The launch was held at national charity Youthscape’s imaginatively refurbished Bute Mills base – a new facility for young people based in Luton. Over one hundred years ago, this was a working flour mill helping to feed families across Bedfordshire - now it’s converted into an award winning space for Youthscape and opened by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in August 2016. The £3.2 million project has transformed this five-storey building, retaining the beautiful original features and adding the latest technology and facilities for Youthscape’s work with young people.

The event, which was broadcast live by BBC Three Counties Radio, highlighted Refernet’s successful association with Citizens Advice Luton as system of choice, with some 14 locally based advice agencies a part of their network, and the opportunity for further agencies to also become part of the network. Refernet were pleased to support this initiative, hosting a discussion area with live demonstrations for delegates following the main presentation.

Luton ‘s Crisis Advice and Support project was recently awarded £500K of Lottery funding over 5 years, won against stiff national competition. For part of this project, Citizens Advice Luton will be using the Refernet system to deliver auditable methods of referral.

Director of Citizens Advice Luton, Julia Cornelius, added: ‘Refernet is an excellent tool that is helping us to deliver the strong partnership working needed to achieve the aims of the Crisis Advice and Support Project – helping people in hardship crisis resolve the problems that led to their crisis and support them to avoid crisis reoccurring in the future.’



Leading Debt Charity chooses Refernet

The Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust has joined a growing number of advice agencies using Refernet, the UK’s leading secure online referral management system for Advice Centres and their partners.

The Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust provides free, independent confidential and impartial advice, information and support to people in England and Wales who are experiencing financial difficulty. The Trust works with a variety of agencies to deliver successful outcomes for its clients, so Refernet is the ideal platform to deliver audited, conclusive referral activity between the Charity and its partners.

Initially, the Trust is running a six-month trial of Refernet to evaluate the system to see how it helps streamline delivery of successful outcomes for the Trust’s clients and increase its capacity to deal with a sharp growth in demand for its services. Since 2008 the debt advice sector has seen a steady increase in demand with calls relating to debt increasing by over 39%.

The Debt Counsellors Chief Executive Officer Nick Pearson, believes Refernet will prove invaluable in “allowing us to provide a streamlined referral service for our clients. The ability to track referrals and its reporting mechanisms makes Refernet ideal for our work with funders. We are also very confident that Refernet's high levels of data security and password-protected accessibility for different user levels allow us to share data with our partners in complete confidence'’.

Refernet is a unique, secure, online referral management system that’s been developed in association with Citizens Advice to provide secure communication between partners, offering external agencies and organisations a fool-proofed method of referring their clients. It will complement existing case management tools or act as a simple case management system in it’s own right. It is both extremely easy-to-use and affordable.



Peterborough Citizens Advice extends the network

Peterborough Citizens Advice recently held a Partner Networking Event‬ to highlight the benefits of its successful partnership with Refernet to the CAB’s partner advice agencies.

Citizens Advice Peterborough‘s Communications Officer June Campbell explains that Refernet has been running successfully at Peterborough CAB for over 5 years, delivering conclusive referrals with supporting data. “During that time we’ve seen a four fold increase in online referrals. However, while agencies refer in to us they do not cross-refer, which is what we would like them to do.”

“We decided to organize a partner agency networking event, bringing together our partner agencies with a view to encouraging them to get to know and understand one-another, as well as thinking about using Refernet rather than signposting to one-another as they currently do.”

“We also invited some of the agencies that we would really like to join our Refernet network, some who have been rather reticent for one reason or another, plus representatives from the local councils and NHS.”

Refernet is a unique, secure, online referral management system that’s been developed in association with Citizens Advice to provide secure communication between partners, offering external agencies and organisations a fool-proofed method of referring their clients. It will complement existing case management tools or act as a simple case management system in it’s own right. It is both extremely easy-to-use and affordable.



Refernet proves a conclusive success with CABs

Refernet, the UK’s leading secure online referral management system for Advice Centres and their partners, is successfully delivering audited referral activity between Peterborough’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau and its partners, to deliver conclusive referrals.

Peterborough’s CAB works with up to 60 agencies to deliver successful outcomes for its clients, Advice Transformation Trainer Phil Dobbs says “Refernet has been running successfully at Peterborough CAB for over 4 years and during that time we’ve seen a four-fold increase in online referrals.

Refernet has been invaluable in allowing us to provide a streamlined referral service for our clients. The ability to track referrals is excellent and the reporting mechanisms ideal for our work with funders. We are also very confident that Refernet's high levels of data security and password-protected accessibility for different user levels allow us to share data with our partners in complete confidence'’.

Refernet’s easy-to-use, stand-alone system links advice providers and referral agencies in a web-based community, gives consumers access to a far greater range of services than any one agency can offer, allowing faster access to key partners and maintain full links with specialist advice providers.

Refernet’s market-leading, proven capability delivers conclusive referrals, securely, is easy-to-use and affordable.

> To see an interactive online demonstration: www.refernet.co.uk/demo




Is achieving conclusive referrals a bit of a lottery?

In the current economic climate not-for-profit advice organisations, in common with many other organisations in the charitable, public and private sectors, are coming under increasing resource pressure, whilst demand for their services is unprecedented.

Many providers say that they are working at full capacity and struggling to meet demand. In fact, since 2008 there has been a steady increase in demand in specific categories with calls relating to debt increasing by 39%, employment by 33% and welfare benefits by 47%.

Most not-for-profit providers have multiple sources of funding. In addition to local and central government, advice trusts and foundations support providers. For example, the Big Lottery Fund has provided grants of between £10,000 and £500,000 to not-for-profit advice providers, amounting to £50m, over the past three years.

Income sources vary considerably between providers, but overall, local and central government are the sector’s main funders. For example, Citizen Advice Bureaux on average receive 40% of their income from local authorities and around 30% from central government.

Looking ahead, funders see collaboration as a vital part of future working and will not look favourably on any organization or network that does not ensure it is maximizing the potential for collaborative and efficient working… and can produce the evidence to support it.
Technology too can play an important part in this move towards a modern digital service. Citizens Advice, in setting out their vision for a responsive welfare system ‘Responsive welfare: building a modern public service’ citizensadvice.org.uk/blog, argues for greater and more open use of digital technology ‘Our vision is that in the future modern digital service design will support the majority of users, freeing up front line staff to support those with more complex needs, within parameters set by local leaders who know what works for their communities’.
Conclusive referrals are seen by many in the advice sector as the cornerstone of an effective advice network, where a client can move from one agency to another receiving the service that best meets their needs from the agency best qualified to deal with the problem and deliver the best possible outcomes for their clients.

The technology to manage and deliver conclusive referrals is certainly available, and delivering for some of the UK’s leading advice networks. Refernet, the UK’s leading online referral system, is successfully delivering audited referral activity between advice agencies and partners, and providing the evidence of conclusive referral delivery that’s required by their funders.



Refernet adds new dimensions to advice agency referral auditing

Refernet, the UK’s leading online referral system that’s successfully delivering audited referral activity between advice agencies and partners, has added a new, powerful function that allows administrators to complete the referral process with a fully auditable record of conclusion types.

This powerful new function allows system administrators to create, view and analyse dashboard-type reports that provide invaluable data including the type, number and percentage of referrals being made, accepted and declined across their network and for individual organisations. The data can be viewed in a range of analytical graphic formats and exported to programmes such as Excel, PDF for analysis.

Conclusive referrals are seen by many in the advice sector as the cornerstone of an effective advice network, where a client can move from one agency to another receiving the service that best meets their needs from the agency best qualified to deal with the problem and deliver the best possible outcomes for their clients.
Developed in conjunction with well-known referral advice and local community service professionals, Refernet facilitates referrals between organisations and networks, and is working for some of the UK’s leading advice networks. Refernet is successfully delivering audited referral activity between advice agencies and partners, and providing the evidence of conclusive referral delivery that’s required by their funders.

Refernet’s an easy-to-use, stand-alone system that links advice providers and referral agencies in a web-based community that gives consumers access to a far greater range of services than any one agency can offer, allowing faster access to key partners and maintain full links with specialist advice providers.

To see an interactive online demonstration: www.refernet.co.uk/demo



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