About IAASC – POhWER’s Information, Advocacy, Advice and Support Centre (draft)
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About IAASC – POhWER’s Information, Advocacy, Advice and Support Centre (draft)


Good afternoon POhWER Alex speaking how can
I help. My name’s Abdul Raheem, I work for POhWER. I’ve worked for POhWER for about 8
years now and I manage our Information, Advice and Advocacy Support Centre or IAASC for short.
We work with a number of different client groups across many different areas and all
of the front line contact for all of our services comes through to this centre. So I have responsibility
for line managing all of our information, advice and advocacy support officers. We also
work with a number of volunteers, student social workers and other support staff and
thats all based in our main hub in Birmingham. My main responsibilities are making sure that
services are delivered effectively from this centre and that also includes working with
a number of partners both internally and externally for example Age UK, Local authorities, the
NHS, social care teams and that is quite important to make sure referrals coming through are
directed appropriately. The IAASC Centre delivers the front line support for all clients coming
through to POhWER, so that includes clients who have been supported in the community but
need to contact their advocate or need some support remotely, they’ll come through to
us here in Birmingham first. Our role is to ensure those clients are provided with the
right support, are signposted where we can’t support and thats quite a key role for the
Information, Advice officers. We provide a number of services in terms of information
and advice from this centre. So for example with NHS Complaints, there’s an element of
information and advice that we can provide from the centre. We’ve got lots of self-help
tools, resources on our website as well as a number of things that we can do support-wise
from this centre before there’s a need for advocacy and thats a theme that runs through
our bigger information and advice contracts such as HertsHelp. Nottingham we also provide
a similar information and advice service as well. So in terms of our client group, we
can support pretty much anyone. We provide a number of services for people who are vulnerable,
are looking for some support for example with welfare assistance or with Community Mental
Health and our role is to determine what support is needed at that time so whether thats something
we can provide support with at the centre or whether it needs to be referred onto an
appropriate advocacy team, an advocate. For example with the Independent Mental Health
Advocacy, that’s a service that’s provided on site across a number of different areas
in a secure environment, so our role there would be making sure that referrals are actioned
appropriately and processed as quickly as possible. Like-wise with the IMCA service,
the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy. Sometimes you’ll find there’s timescales involved
and that need to be met quite quickly so the support officers role is to ensure that a full triage is taking place and the case is being sent through appropriately as thats where
the quality of service is key for us here. We would never leave anyone with nothing,
there’s always something that we can do and that’s a quite key for us. My name’s Colin.
I work as an information officer within the IAASC office. Now IAASC (I have to check this
out) stands for Information, Advice, Advocacy and Communications service and its the gateway,
if you will for clients to get in contact with the various service provisions that POhWER,
through its various contracts, provide for different geographical areas of the country.
As an information service when the phone rings, whilst we might have a clue as to who’s calling,
from what area, we seldom have an idea as to what the nature of that call might be.
So it can be quite difficult when a person calls the help line for us to actually identify
the support they require, the area that they are coming from, to consider whether or not
it’s an area we area able to support or indeed signpost them to the authority or organisation
that could help them. But it makes for an incredibly diverse working day, its incredibly
interesting and it can provide a great deal of satisfaction when you feel that you’ve
hung up the phone, you’ve helped somebody to gain the support that they’ll need to hopefully
improve their quality of life. You can contact POhWER using a number of different methods.
We’ve got a main helpline which is our 0300 456 2370 number, we are also on Skype, we’ve
got a fax number. Professionals can refer to us via our website. We’ve got a really
good resource which lists all our services in each area. We’ve got a dedicated email
address so we regularly receive referrals via that. So we have members of the team monitoring
referrals throughout the day. We’re open from 8.00am in the morning to 6.00pm in the evening
and we aim to respond to all contact within one working day and send on to the advocacy
teams if needed who will make contact within 5 working days. You can also find out further
information about POhWER by visiting our website and that’s www.pohwer.net, that’s spelt POhWER
and there’s lots of resources on there at the moment, like I mentioned you can download
referral forms. We’ve got information about all of our services, all of the areas we cover,
there’s lots of self help tools, they’re all downloadable as well. So there’s a number
of different resource and I would recommend you check that out.

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