Thirtyone:eight has been awarded the national quality standard for ‘outstanding’ helpline provision in the same month that we celebrate 30 years of continuous service by our Safeguarding Helpline. This national accreditation has been awarded by Helplines Partnership (the National body for helpline providers) and has been specifically developed for the helpline sector to recognise excellence and best practice in service delivery.
Our Safeguarding Helpline which can be contacted on 0303 003 11 11 is open to anyone and provides a free source of advice and support for all safeguarding related concerns. We also run a Disclosure Helpline for our DBS users to answer questions on all matters relating to processing DBS checks which was also recognised by this award. Both helplines form part our complete safeguarding solution for churches, charities, and faith-based organisations.
“It is a huge privilege for us to be awarded this national accreditation which reflects the high level of service that we aspire to” says Barbara Ball, our Head of Advisory Services. “Since 1990 our Safeguarding helpline has been there for people to answer any questions or provide advice on issues ranging from drafting a safeguarding policy, to how to respond to a case of abuse. In that time our dedicated and experienced team of Safeguarding professionals have answered well over 140,000 calls. Building on the success of our Safeguarding Helpline and following the launch of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in 2002, we launched our Disclosure Helpline, which now receives around 500 calls each week."
"We work hard to ensure the independent advice we give is always of the highest quality, so to be recognised in this way is testament to all the hard work put in by many people over the years. We are especially delighted that we should receive this award as we celebrate this important milestone in our organisation’s history.”
The Helplines Standard identifies the practices that enable an organisation to deliver a helpline service which is ‘consistent, relevant to the needs of its stakeholders and effective in what it is trying to achieve’. In granting the award, Helplines Partnership said “It was clear that the Thirtyone:eight helpline is strongly focused on meeting the needs of its callers. From observations and discussions undertaken during the assessment, the commitment to delivering an effective high-quality service was strongly evident. Helplines Partnership would like to congratulate those involved."
During the last 30 years, our Safeguarding Helpline has hugely developed both in terms of its scope, and the number of calls it receives. From receiving approximately 50 calls a month in its earliest years when awareness of safeguarding was relatively low, it now regularly receives over 600 calls a month and this figure is increasing year on year. In a recent survey of our members our Safeguarding Helpline was voted the second most relevant service next to DBS checks, with over a half of our members saying they had called our helpline at least once in the previous 12 months. As one caller explained “knowing you can pick up the phone and get access to a dedicated team of professional safeguarding advisors, who understand the specialist context in which you are working is hugely significant for us.”
Thirtyone:eight has also recently been commissioned to provide dedicated Helplines for several high-profile cases and reviews, offering an independent source of help and advice to anyone who may have been affected.
Justin Humphreys, our joint-Chief Executive said “We are extremely proud that both our Safeguarding Helpline and our Disclosure Helpline have been recognised in this way as it demonstrates the high value we place on the people that call us and on the advice we give. We know what a difference it can make to the people that call who may be grappling with very distressing and complicated issues often for the first time. While we provide this service free of charge at the point of delivery, it costs the charity £32 on average to respond to each call to our Safeguarding Helpline, so we remain grateful for any donations we receive that allow us to keep this service open to all who need it.”
The Helplines standard which was awarded this week by Helplines Partnership lasts for three years.