How the Service Helps
Older people are often at a disadvantage when it comes to making informed choices, such as which utility company could provide them with a similar service, but for cheaper. Not having access to the internet, or the ability to get out and about, can also put an older person at a disadvantage. The home secretary service can support an older person to make an informed choice by providing ‘price comparison’ information on utility bills and other services. The home secretary service cannot provide financial or legal advice.
With the beauty of the same volunteer providing a regular visit, building up a friendly relationship, an additional benefit of the service is spotting problems early. This may be recognizing that their client’s health is not as good as it usually is, that they cannot get out as much as they used to or perhaps the mis-selling of goods and services. The home secretary service is operated within very clear boundaries. A volunteer who has any concerns about their client can contact the home secretary co-ordinator, who will then investigate and/or contact appropriate professionals such as their GP, NYCC social services, Trading Standards, family or friends (where consent is given).
How it Works
Since 2007, the home secretary service has provided support to 267 in Harrogate & District and Ripon. After having an initial ‘holistic’ assessment where written consent is gained, this confidential, free service, can support a client to access other services, such as having a Welfare & Benefits check through Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington’s information & advice service, make referrals to social services for an occupational or needs assessment, signpost to other voluntary sector organizations and encourage a client to engage in more social interaction (health permitting).
Referrals can be made to the Home Secretary Service from health professionals, social services, individual. Prior consent must be gained before making a referral. The service is confidential and volunteers are DBS checked.