In order to address the first of these priorities, Thames Valley PCC has been very successful with the introduction of two support systems; Specialist Counselling and Victim First, based on the Apricot case management software from the Gallery Partnership.
“Thames Valley OPCC began using Apricot to recruit, select, evaluate and approve specialist counsellors and by receiving victims’ referrals from external partner organisations to the OPCC Specialist Counsellor Service. The flexibility of Apricots functionality has been utilised within a central and secure system to manage this service. This recruitment and referral approach have saved Thames Valley a substantial amount of administration time as the data is already entered into the system during the application and referral process, through a secure online webform. Thames Valley now have a real-time view of all the services being provided and are able to track progress and performance.” Explains Shona Morrison, Policy Director.
Having had success in establishing this application, it made sense later to adopt the same platform for their Victims First service, since it became apparent that the Apricot solution can address a variety of case management applications and levels of user. Forms are easily assembled using the ‘drag and drop’ Administrator application. Apricot is priced by the user – you only pay for those you need, when you need them. As a ‘cloud-based solution,’ users can access the system from anywhere.
Under the brand banner “Victims First”, this effort now encompasses extensive support for victims of crime, including commissioning new services for young victims, victims of sexual violence, a victim-local support service to assist other victims, together with a dedicated website – www.victims-first.org.uk.
“Apricot’s scalable and flexible nature has enabled Thames Valley OPCC to expand their use of Apricot into their “Victim’s First” hub and where required to respond effectively to developing and emerging needs. This is kept separate from the Specialist Counselling Service with user permissions, thereby minimising cost and increasing value.” Explains Edward Fitzpatrick, Victims First Hub Manager.
“Referrals are received directly into Apricot, either from the NICHE RMS database or by using a secure public web form completed by individuals or the referring agency. This has meant that Thames Valley OPCC did not need to hire additional staff to enter the data. Dashboards have been configured to highlight key information, such as new cases, caseloads and follow-up status. Caseworkers find these dashboards easy to use, which cuts down on their training time and increases efficiency.
“Speaking of how Apricot conforms with the work at the OPCC, Shona sums up how it has benefitted the organisation, along with the continued support from our team at Gallery Partnership. “It does everything we asked of it. Whilst there were some glitches, data from the National Police ‘NICHE’ system is now uploaded each morning and we were able to build Apricot out easily into the new service, which is working well for us. The support from the Gallery Partnership has been first class.”