Invest in maintaining a skilled workforce
If you are implementing a case management service, ensure your team are:
- Prioritising building open, positive relationships with their service users
- Being patient and respectful towards service users
- Taking a proactive and flexible approach to finding effective strategies.
Experiment with engagement retention approaches
Encourage staff to use a range of means to contact service users, including text, email and phone for those who find face-to-face meetings hard. This will help you and your team identify which strategies might work best.
Set realistic caseloads
Enable staff to spend sufficient time on each service user to ensure each person gets the support they need. Unrealistic caseloads will impact on service quality.
Design procedures with the user in mind
Ensure that all procedures are designed with the user journey in mind. The service users’ perspective should guide the set up of all processes, systems, case recording etc.
Collaborate with other agencies
Working together with other agencies enables service users outcomes that would not be possible working independently. Multidisciplinary and partnership working is critical to identifying and engaging service users, sustaining tenancies, retaining contact and supporting service users after they have left the project. Consider carefully how data will be collected and shared.
Provide access to appropriate support
Ensure service users have access to support for non-housing issues, such as employment, parenting, and health (including addiction and mental ill health). Addressing these needs increases the chances that the intervention will succeed, through improving trust and engagement in the programme.
Ensure suitable, affordable housing is available
An important consideration is the availability of suitable, affordable housing. Many private landlords will initially be reluctant to rent to case management service users but some can be persuaded; compare different communication approaches and evaluate what works. If there are no suitable options for longer-term accommodation, your team will need to consider the most appropriate interim short-term housing plan for each service user.
Manage service user expectations
Ensure staff manage the expectations of service users around housing; the housing that is likely to be available and affordable to them will often be of poorer quality. One strategy can be to encourage them to think of their housing as a ‘stepping stone’ to improved life chances.