Glenrothes YMCA-YWCA

Last reviewed on 24/01/2013 14:20

Healthy Working Lives has helped the Glenrothes YMCA-YWCA to increase efficiency and improve the service it offers to clients. 

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Glenrothes-Y first contacted the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives in August 2008.

After reviewing its lone working policy, the organisation was looking for a solution to lone working issues, such as staff often being required to work off site, in potentially difficult conditions. The personal safety aspects of this practice needed to be tightened and improved.

We did have a lone working policy, but it just didn’t fit the bill any longer
Muriel Bradford
- Housing and Operations Manager






Muriel Bradford, Housing and Operations Manager at Glenrothes-Y, explains how Healthy Working Lives helps the organisation.

‘We offer accommodation for young single homeless in several settings,’ explains Muriel, ‘and one of those settings is in scatter flats in the community.

‘You know the people who you’re going to visit, but you don’t know who might be in the stairwell, who else might be in the flat, or what else might happen when you're out and about on your own.’

As a result, staff often felt vulnerable, and worried about their personal safety.

‘I wasn’t sure how to take it forward so we approached the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives,’ Muriel says.

The solution

Muriel met with a local Healthy Working Lives adviser, and they looked at the safety issue together by undertaking a risk assessment.

‘We did have a lone working policy, but it just didn’t fit the bill any longer; it didn’t meet our needs,’ says Muriel. ‘We went through the lone working policy with the adviser and decided how it could be improved.’

After assessing the risks to staff working off-site, Glenrothes –Y decided to introduce an automated personal safety system.

Improved safety procedures

The new security system allows staff members to check in using a pin code, indicating where they are, who they are going to see and when they expect their appointment to end.

The improved safety procedures are popular with staff, who feel safer in their work environment while away from a main site.

Efficient use of resources

In the past, extra time and resources were consumed when staff felt unsafe. The standard procedure was for staff to pair up when making certain off-site visits. Since the security system has been introduced, staff only need the extra security of another colleague when the risk assessments are high due to extenuating circumstances.

‘Before, they would have gone out in twos, and this meant having to ask somebody from another site to accompany them to visit that flat. Another colleague would then be informed of where they were going and when they expected to return.'

'That doesn’t happen any more unless there are specific concerns. It’s normal now for them to go out on their own.’

Working time is used more efficiently because the system is almost entirely automated, and colleagues are no longer responsible for the safety of their peers, or for remembering to check whether or not they have returned to their site.

Improved service for clients

‘The Healthy Working Lives approach has actually cascaded down to our service users,’ says Muriel. 'Healthy eating, for example, has translated into a gardening project to grow fresh veg.'

‘Some of training we’ve had includes mental health first aid. This has raised awareness among our staff of the possible signs to look for in our service users, who can be an extremely marginalised group of people, who may have abuse or alcohol and addiction issues in their lives.’

‘Healthy Working Lives actually supports your training programmes for both staff and service users,’ Muriel continues.

‘Had we not had the training from Healthy Working Lives, we might not have introduced some of the really enjoyable programmes our service users and staff have taken part in; gardening, walk leadership, health issues awareness days, health checks and more.'

Lessons learned

Muriel is enthusiastic about the opportunities that Healthy Working Lives has offered for staff development.

The free courses that staff attend help them to discover new skills, develop confidence in new topics and learn new ways to engage with their work.

‘Healthy Working Lives offers an awful lot that they can bring to their personal and professional development, which all supports and adds to the service that we deliver.’

Muriel Bradford
Housing and Operations Manager
Glenrothes WMCA-YWCA
North Street Glenrothes


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