First Point Community Portal has been launched in the Isle of Man which is innovating emergency response support
A new digital service has been launched, supported by the SignedUp platform, which is transforming how first responders can handle crisis situations involving people in varying circumstances, and giving Isle of Man residents peace of mind during emergency situations. The First Point Community Portal is powered by the SignedUp platform and has been developed to help the Isle of Man’s local community by improving the care provided by emergency personnel for people who might need additional support.
The First Point Community Portal concept originated from the need to better facilitate the first point of contact between community members and emergency services. The digital solution allows community members, or their loved ones with the community member’s consent, or Charity partners (with consent) to create and maintain profiles with details about the person that will be relevant in emergency situations. Emergency personnel will then be able to search through profiles in a separate, secure site linked to the portal.
The Isle of Man Constabulary reported that in 2016-17 there was an average of 22 non-criminal incidents connected to Mental Health per week, and nearly 10 Missing Persons reported each week – each case taking on average 7 hours of police time, not including any related paperwork. The need for a mobile system, which will support emergency services in resolving each case appropriately and efficiently, has become ever-more apparent.
Local partnerships have been a key factor in bringing the First Point Community Portal project to life. First Point has been supported by both the emergency services and local charities who can see the benefits the portal can deliver to a range of people within the local community. A pilot of the First Point Community Portal was launched on the Isle of Man in June 2018 and is expected to run well into the New Year.
What we set out to do:
- Bring a project from an idea stage to a live stage
- Help people with day-to-day difficulties in emergency situations
- Create a system with the minimum information that is necessary for an emergency according to emergency services personnel, with the minimum information that charities think their service users would be willing to provide
- Create an additional service which charities can offer through the platform
The First Point Community Portal can be utilised to support different members of the public with varying needs. Here’s one typical scenario:
Meet Doris, and her husband Reg
Meet Doris. She is 85 years old and has recently been diagnosed with dementia. Doris’ husband Reg is her full-time carer; however, he must leave her on her own from time-to-time. Occasionally Doris will leave their home unattended and is likely to get lost. The Police are called out to help Doris find her way home.
In this scenario, the Police will always treat Doris with kindness and care. However, there may be triggers, such as men in uniform or passing dog walkers, which could distress Doris – making it difficult for the response team to help her. If Doris is registered on First Point, the Police will see the details required to identify her and contact information to get her home to her family. They will have immediate access to additional personal information to help Doris feel more comfortable and ensure they can communicate with her more effectively. Without First Point, the police would have wasted valuable time trying to identify Doris if she was found without anything on her person. The quicker she is identified, the sooner they can get her home and comfortable.
The Isle of Man Constabulary needed a consent-based database which they could access and search whilst out in the field, to return a person to a place of safety with as little stress as possible for the individual. With an average of 133 non-criminal incidents per month involving people with additional needs (figures reported April-December 2017), a searchable, online solution would allow emergency services personnel to quickly provide them with appropriate care and support.
Instead of building a whole new portal and database system from scratch, First Point stakeholders were able to work closely with the SignedUp team to configure the existing SignedUp platform to quickly meet the specific needs of this project – reducing the amount of potentially costly research and development time that can be incurred in building such a comprehensive platform. As a project which has been both supported by charities and emergency services, and funded by sponsorship, configuring the SignedUp platform to the needs of First Point has resulted in a significant difference in the lives of people with additional needs and their loved ones.
The First Point Community Portal was set up quickly, and cost-effectively with the pilot launched within just a few months - supporting a secure database of consenting adults who might need additional support in an emergency such as people with mental health conditions, physical challenges, medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, epilepsy and Parkinson’s) or are of advanced old age.
Looking to the future
Through collaboration with a number of Island charities and organisations, First Point Community Portal has been created to service a number of needs in the Third Sector. Although the pilot is focused around the Isle of Man Constabulary’s first contact protocols, the platform has the potential to be expanded to offer additional services to an array of charity requirements. There has been such positive reception of the project that before the First Point Community Portal project has even completed the pilot period, there has already been interest in deploying the platform in new instances for emergency services within the UK.
The SignedUp platform has demonstrated through the First Point Community Portal Project the flexibility of the software, which can be applied to a range of different services, not just for emergency response protocols. In the Isle of Man and around the UK and Scotland, the SignedUp platform is being used to manage programmes within the employment and skills sector, supporting young adults in finding work experience and apprenticeship placements.
Utilising the versatility of the SignedUp software to create the First Point Community Portal has enabled local partners to create a way for emergency services personnel to have access to information about people who need additional support in emergency situations. Due to the nature of the information contained within the platform, security of data is paramount to ensure that individuals are reassured their information is safe and that only the emergency services personnel can view their profile within the portal.
This can be applied to support a range of different services in both the public and private sector, ensuring GDPR standards are maintained and any user of the platform can remain confident that their data is handled securely and sensitively.
Project Lead Alexandra Koyfman was awarded the Isle of Man Newspapers Young Achiever of the Year 2018 in November for her hard work and dedication to facilitating such a successful collaboration between charity, emergency services, and private sector partners for the launch of the First Point Community Portal pilot.