St. Paul’s Trust aims to work with and alongside the people of Balsall Heath in Birmingham and the wider neighbourhood to promote education, recreation and life-long learning. The process of informing, advising and guiding service users is accorded a high priority and is seen as crucial in supporting the community to make full and informed choices regarding the opportunities and challenges that they may face. The Trust is committed to providing high quality, purposeful, accurate and unbiased information, advice and guidance. Where we are unable to provide appropriate support we will signpost or refer to external agencies.
Information refers to the provision of data, facts and figures relating to internal and external services, impartially and without discussion about the relative merits of different options.
Advice requires in-depth interaction with the service user. It includes the explanation of information and explanations about how to access and use information. Advice involves helping a service user to understand and interpret how information provided might relate to his/ her personal situation.
Guidance involves an in-depth session or series of sessions between the service user and member of staff, in which the service user is supported through the process of making decisions. Guidance aims to support service users to better understand their needs, to confront barriers and to make informed and appropriate choices
Referral involves written correspondence when another member of staff,
agency or provider offers services that more closely match the service users
needs. This is completed with the consent of the service user.
Signposting occurs when a member of staff, student or volunteer directs a
service user to another member of staff, agency or provider who could more
closely match their needs. This could be verbally or in writing. Consent is not
required as no formal contact is made with the receiving staff agency or
3) Access to Services
St Paul’s Trust is committed to equal opportunities and does not discriminate against the users of its service. Please see our Equality and Diversity Policy for further details. The Trust will endeavour to provide information, advice or guidance to any service user who requests it. Attempts will be made to refer
or signpost service users where the Trust is unable to provide the appropriate information, advice or guidance. We will endeavour to meet the need for information, advice and guidance of service users with disabilities and those with additional language needs.
4) Core Information Services
St. Paul’s Trust provides a variety of information, advice and guidance via different departments within the organisation. We operate under the concept of no ‘wrong door access’. Should a service user internally access support from the wrong department or member of staff, it is the responsibility of that member of staff to support the service user to access the appropriate information, advice or guidance within the Trust.
5) External Collaboration
St. Paul’s Trust is committed to collaborative working with local, national and international partner agencies. This may be to jointly deliver services where appropriate. We also have relationships with partners to enable us to refer or signpost when the Trust is unable to provide the required information, advice or guidance. Inability to provide the service could be due to service parameters, skills, knowledge or qualification level of staff, volunteers or students. The Trust will endeavour to ensure that our partnership agencies provide accurate and up to date information, advice and guidance but cannot guarantee the quality of support provided. Where possible, the Trust will aim to provide more than one option for accessing information, advice and guidance and information about a variety of agencies to enable service user choice, empowerment and self determination.
6) Information, Advice and Guidance Provision
Services are provided in a variety of methods to meet the needs of the community. We also provide internal information, advice and guidance to staff, trainees, students and volunteers. Provision is tailored and can be delivered individually and in groups depending on need and the type of service being provided. Information, advice and guidance may be delivered through a drop in or appointment based system depending on the service being provided. The Trust will make every effort to advertise our services and to make them accessible to all service users. Efforts will be made to ensure that information, advice and guidance resources are made available within the Trust and are kept up to date.
Information, advice and guidance may be provided through the following media:
St. Paul’s Trust Website
Formal lessons and training
The Heathan Newspaper
The Sun (internal newsletter)
7) Competence and Qualifications
Frontline staff, students, trainees and volunteers should have the skills and knowledge to quickly and effectively identify the service users needs. They will be able to address the service users needs or to signpost or to refer them to suitable alternative provision.
The Trust works with staff, students, trainees and volunteers to ensure they are trained and qualified to successfully deliver information, advice and guidance at an appropriate level of competence. Focus on maintaining and improving knowledge and experience is supported by in house mandatory core training which includes Safeguarding, Data Protection, Health and Safety and Equalities training. Individual staff are supported to seek relevant training required by their role. The Trust evidences its commitment to training and staff competence in its achievement of the PQASSO, Investors in People and Matrix quality marks.
8) Quality and Review
St. Paul’s Trust is dedicated to ensuring that the information, advice and guidance provided by staff, students, trainees and volunteers is of the appropriate quality. Standards of service are reviewed by the Information, Advice and Guidance Group that meets three times each year. Each department is responsible for reviewing the quality of the information, advice and guidance it provides. This is through self evaluation, service user evaluation and evaluation of our services by external partners. Each department is then accountable to the St. Paul’s Trust Board of Trustees. The Trust is held to account externally with regards to the quality of our service to fund holders and through the Matrix, PQASSO and Investors in People quality marks.
The Trust Complaints policy, outcomes of individual complaints and feedback from service users will inform the improvement of services. The Trust seeks to give feedback to service users about comments received.
9) Confidentiality and data protection
St. Paul’s Trust treats all service users with respect and observes confidentiality. All personal information and records of contacts with service users will be stored in accordance with St Paul’s Trust Data Protection and Data Retention policies and Confidentiality statement.
10) Related policies
Equalities, Complaints, Volunteering, Safeguarding, Quality, Training, Data Protection and Data Retention.
Adopted July 2011