Receiving a Contact or Referral

This procedure should be used as guidance for good service when receiving a referral from ACCESS or a contact from a person or carer with an existing Care and Support Plan/Support Plan/Reablement Plan or open OT case.

Note: This procedure is used by all of the following teams and services:

  1. Reablement;
  2. Community Occupational Therapy;
  3. Social Work Teams;
  4. Carers Services.

Every contact should be managed in a professional manner at all times.

Establish whether the contact is being made by the person/carer about whom it relates. If not, confirm that consent has been given or, in the case of a person with Care and Support needs that the individual making contact has the legal authority to act on their behalf.

Take a strengths based approach during any conversation or written communication.

Take opportunities to provide information and advice or to discuss prevention services.

Always allow sufficient time for the contact so that the caller can say everything they want to say and ask any questions they may have.

Where a message has been left for you always call back as soon as possible and apologise for any delays or inconvenience caused.

Make sure you are satisfied that the individual making contact has understood what you have communicated to them. Consider an alternative method of contact if they are a person/carer who appears to have difficulty in doing so (for example, e-mail contact or face to face contact) or consider the need to assess mental capacity (see the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Resource and Practice Toolkit).

Record all contacts in a proportionate way, capturing all relevant detail and key points and actions.

Follow up on any actions agreed in a timely way and keep the individual making contact updated on progress.

Endeavour to answer telephone contacts in a timely way (wherever possible between 3-5 rings).

Be sure to give the individual calling your name, your role and your contact number for future reference.

Acknowledge all e-mail communication so the sender knows the e-mail has been received, even if a response to any query cannot be given straight away.

Where a response is not given straight away, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from you (or someone else) again.

Make sure that the signature at the bottom of any e-mail you send is correct and includes your name, your role and your contact number for the sender's future reference.

If an e-mail communication is being forwarded to another practitioner or service for action let the sender know and explain why.

Where the response is going to be lengthy or complex establish whether the sender would prefer to be contacted in another way (for example by telephone or face to face).

Before ending an e-mail communication chain, make sure that you are satisfied the sender is happy with the response and has no further questions.

Acknowledge all text communication so the sender knows the text has been received, even if a response to any query cannot be given straight away.

Make sure that your name, your role and your contact number is included in any text response made.

Where a response cannot be given straight away, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from you (or someone else) again.

Text communication, while convenient may not be the most appropriate way to communicate complex, lengthy or sensitive information. Unless the query is straightforward or the sender specifically requests a text response try to establish whether there is an alternative method of contact that can be used (for example e-mail, telephone contact or face to face contact).

Before ending a text communication chain, make sure that you are satisfied the sender is happy with the response and has no further questions.

Letters should be opened on the day that they are received and passed to the most appropriate practitioner to respond.

Letters marked as 'urgent' should be treated as such until there is evidence that this is not the case.

Acknowledgement of the letter should be provided whenever requested, whenever the letter is formal (for example from a Solicitor or a Court) or whenever there is likely to be a delay in a decisive response.

Where a response cannot be given in a timely way, or where further action is needed confirm to the sender (either through a letter or another available method of contact e.g. telephone) what will happen next and when the sender may expect to hear from you (or someone else) again.

When responding in writing or by e-mail make sure that your name, your role and your contact number is included in any response made.

Written responses should be made on Local Authority headed paper so that the sender has confidence in the validity of the response.

When a referral is received from ACCESS it should be reviewed to make sure that it is contains all of the required information upon which to make a decision about allocation or any other appropriate action.

A record of the referral should be made soon as it is received from ACCESS, even if the outcome of the referral is not yet clear.

All recording should be in line with local recording requirements.

Where information is not comprehensive professional judgement should be used about the need to either:

  1. Return the referral to the referrer with a request for the additional information required;
  2. Contact the referrer to obtain the additional information required; or
  3. Process the referral and seek the additional information required at a later stage.

This decision should be made on a case by case basis and will depend on factors such as:

  1. The level of information missing;
  2. The risk posed to the person/carer as a result of any delay in processing the referral;
  3. The urgency of intervention required; and
  4. The complexity of the apparent need.

Last Updated: August 5, 2022

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