Thinking of setting up a helpline?

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Helplines are an increasingly important way of reducing the strain on existing services and this has led to an increase in contact volumes received by helplines across the UK (Read our research blog). Setting up a helpline isn’t something to be entered into lightly. Thinking about every aspect of your proposed service from the outset is to be encouraged and could alter the course of your service and ultimately it’s future. In a climate where many helplines are facing possible funding cuts and closures, setting up a new helpline should be considered carefully within this context.

Based on our years of expertise in the helpline sector we have published a guide exploring the essential factors to consider when setting up a helpline which include:

  • Identifying and establishing need
  • Purpose and service remit
  • Planning your service
  • Recruitment and staffing
  • Technology
  • Telephony
  • Marketing
  • Monitoring and evaluating

The need for any new service should come from a strong evidence base. Perhaps there is already another service provider that you could partner with? Find out from the local authority and major health providers what their priorities are in terms of service provision. You may be able to access vital research, funding and partnerships via larger statutory bodies.

Sustainability is key – are there sufficient start-up funds to cover expenses ranging from utilities, personnel, insurance, training, IT, professional services etc? How will you fund the helpline in future to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Planning and more planning! Writing mission statements, strategies, policies and procedures are the foundations for every helpline, serving to guide best practice and underpin effective service delivery.
Your team is the face of your organisation. Their performance and commitment will shape your helpline and our guide highlights the importance of selection, management, support mechanisms and training alongside other practicalities such as rotas, risks and resources.

Telephony and technology are the way your service interacts with callers. The right systems can improve efficiency but can be costly. This guide provides an outline for all the questions you should be asking to ensure you purchase the right system and software for your requirements. Helplines Partnership have established partnerships offering exclusive packages and solutions for our member helplines shaped around the unique needs in our sector. Find out more

HLP has produced a free guide to setting up a helpline. It covers all the essentials and acts as an introduction to the ways in which HLP can help when you are establishing a new service. We have also developed Start-up package available from £990 (+VAT).

Download our FREE guide

Other helpful guides and resources on our website:

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