Personal casework: how it works
I hadn’t realised before I got involved in the casework process what a mammoth task it can be. If I let it, it could take over my life. Casework is one of ARC’s many strengths and it is important that we continue to build on and improve the work we do.
So to help us to help you I thought I would set out a few of the procedures we have to follow when a member approaches us for assistance. This is a quick trot through it – over the coming months I am hoping we will refine the process and provide an even better service. You can find a more information in the help and advice section of this website.
Get in touch as soon as you can
If you have a problem which may require casework support it is really important you tell us as soon as possible. If you don’t tell us early enough, we may not be able to alter the outcome. There is no such thing as telling ARC too soon. We may firstly offer advice to see if the problem can be solved without the need for a formal caseworker (and then provide a caseworker if it cannot) or we may say we think you need a caseworker immediately and issue the relevant forms for completion.
Don’t delay telling us until its too late to alter the outcome. There’s no such thing as telling ARC too soon.Forms for requesting casework support will soon be available on this website. But we first need to rethink the forms and make them more user-friendly. In the meantime, if you have a problem that may require casework support, let us know using the contact form here and we will email you the casework forms.
The forms are vital because they give you, the member, the opportunity to tell us, the caseworkers, what your issue is, what you would like to do and what you would like as a resolution of the issue.
Now let’s wind back one step. The first thing we will do when you contact us is to check you are actually a member and when you joined. One of our overriding rules is that you cannot have assistance for an issue that already existed when you joined us. We are very strict about this and have refused assistance in the past.
We do this to ensure that members are treated fairly. If you could gain this advantage of membership by just signing up when you have an issue and then withdrawing when the issue is resolved, it weakens the benefits of membership and creates a two-tier system.
Once we have your forms and have checked you are a member, we think about whether we are working on any similar cases which might allow us to use the same caseworker. We also consider which caseworkers have experience of the issue you have raised and which are located near to you, so we can reduce costs. Having taken all those factors into account,we will let you know the name of your caseworker. It sounds very simple, but there is actually quite a lot to it and usually more than one call is needed before a caseworker is found.
Your caseworker will then contact you to discuss how to take the matter forward and give advice on what you should do and say. They will accompany you to any formal fact-finding meetings and support you through the whole process. They will consider the result with you and discuss whether an appeal would be appropriate and then support you with that if necessary.
What we expect from you
In return your caseworker will expect you to:
- be completely honest about your issue
- provide all relevant documents before any meeting
- be realistic with what you hope to achieve
- listen and act upon the advice you have been given
If you do not act upon, or act contra to, the advice you are given, ARC may have to consider whether we could continue to act for you.
We have some new caseworkers to train and so we will be organising a training event shortly. At the same time we want to run through terms and conditions with all our caseworkers so we are ready to support our members through any one-to-ones they have to face.
Help your colleagues – become an ARC caseworker
If you would like to become an caseworker please do get in touch. Currently the co-ordination team is Graham Flew, Vicky Johnson(mailto:[email protected] and Amy Carr – feel free to contact any of us if you want to talk about what might be involved. All assistance is gratefully received.