The FirstStop local network
EAC aims to forge partnerships with local information and advice (I&A) services in order to:
- expand the provision of good quality, integrated, independent and impartial I&A covering housing, care and related financial matters for older people;
- help make these I&A services available via a combination of methods including web, email, phone and face-to-face including casework – and where demand exists, during extended opening hours.
FirstStop local partners are organisations that have agreed to work closely with EAC and its national FirstStop partners to ensure that these aims are achieved locally. Arrangements vary from area to area, but the result is always a clear promise to all older people who approach either the local partner's service or the FirstStop national service that they will have access to the full FirstStop service offer of:
- good quality, integrated, independent and impartial information and advice;
- covering housing, care and related financial matters;
- with a choice of web, email, telephone and face-to-face delivery.
Customer referrals between local and national FirstStop sevices are integral to delivering this vision, and the specification of referral mechanisms is a key part of each FirstStop Partnership Agreement, alongside quality assurance measures.
There are now currently 23 local FirstStop Partners, some covering a whole county, some a city or smaller area. Over half are Age UKs, a number are Home Improvement Agencies and there are also Local Authorities and independent not-for-profit organisations. This site provides a profile of all FirstStop Partner organisations plus details of their services.
Read about becoming a FirstStop Partner
View details of all FirstStop local Partners and the services they provide
Thanks to support from DCLG, and previously the Big Lottery Fund, over the last 5 years EAC has been able to help fund housing options advice services run by some of local Partners. The current DCLG funding programme will support at least 15 services during 2015-16.
FirstStop also has valuable formal arrangements with a number of other local information and advice (I&A) services that support and contribute to our aims but do not wish, or are not eligible, to become FirstStop Partners.
Examples of FirstStop Associates include:
- Specialist agencies with a focus on a specific heath condition;
- Landlords that provide a service for their tenants / residents only;
- SOLLA-member Regulated Financial Advisers;
- Agencies whose prime function is not I&A – such as some home improvement agencies, telecare providers and befriending services.
In the main our relationship with FirstStop Associates centres on quality assurance and the mechanics of client referrals. We ask them to provide us with:
- An organisation profile;
- A description of the content of their own service;
- Their service quality assurance framework.
A formal but simple agreement between us details:
- How client referrals between the Associate and FirstStop Partners will be made;
- How the recipients of a client referral will report back on actions taken / outcomes achieved.
Details of FirstStop Associates and their services will shortly be added to this site.
Over the years, EAC has forged collaborative arrangements with many more local advice services. We have made it our business to know what they do, so that we can confidently signpost clients to them for information or services that we can't provide. Similarly we have always encouraged other agencies to signpost to us whenever they think we could be of use.
This collaborative approach underpins the FirstStop model, and we continue to work closely with many organisations with which we do not have a formal contractual arrangement. Key examples are:
Care & Repair England Silverlinks projects
Through national FirstStop Partner Care & Repair England we have access to a growing number of older peer advisors, volunteers and support groups active in its Silverlinks projects currently operating in Leeds, Nottinghamshire, Northumberland and West of England.
Visit the Silverlinks blog
First Contact services
First Contact schemes encourage local agencies to work together to identify vulnerable people in their community and connect them to the services they need to be healthy, safe and independent.
FirstStop has made contact with 34 First Contact schemes in England and Scotland, and offered the support of the FirstStop partner network wherever useful. Conversely FirstStop partners can access the detailed local knowledge that First Contact service managers and members have.
>Locate FirstContact services