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Policy Statement

Prime Recruitment Ltd believes that lone support workers should not be at more risk than other employees.

Prime Recruitment understands lone support workers to be those who work without close or direct supervision or company for substantial periods of time. In this context, the organisation understands its duty as an employer being to assess any risks to lone support workers and take steps to avoid or control those risks where necessary. Prime Recruitment recognises that staff working alone in potentially isolated conditions have no immediate back up or support and so are a greater risk of injury through aggression or violence directed towards them from service users, relatives, colleagues or the general public. Prime Recruitment also recognises that staff working alone need to rely on their own judgement and initiative and may be at a greater risk of making mistakes or errors.

Prime Recruitment believes that training is particularly important for lone support workers and research shows that adequate training is the single most critical factor in avoiding panic reactions in unusual situations. In particular, lone support workers need to be deemed competent to deal not only with the day to day facets of their work but with circumstances which are new, unusual or beyond the scope of their training; for example, if threatened with aggression and violence.

The Policy

By definition, lone support workers are those who work without constant supervision throughout their working day; therefore, procedures must be put into place to monitor lone support workers to ensure they remain safe and to provide supervision on regular basis. This includes supervisors periodically visiting and observing those working alone and regular contact between the lone support worker and supervisor by telephone.

Prime Recruitment believes that supervision helps to ensure that employees understand the risks associated with their work and that the necessary safety precautions are carried out. The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the ability of the lone support worker to identify and handle health and safety issues.

When a member of staff is at work in a service user’s home, he or she may be at risk through health and safety hazards in and around the premises, and of physical or verbal assaults and hostility from service users, relatives and the general public. Recent evidence suggests that such incidents may be on the increase and protocols should take this into account, particularly in high risk areas such as “high crime rate” areas.

At Prime Recruitment:

  • The assessment of all new referrals should include a risk assessment which includes threats from health and safety hazards and from aggression and violence and other threats to lone working.

  • Lone support workers should carry, if deemed appropriate, panic alarms and mobile phones so that they can summon help quickly, all phones should include an emergency number which will be attended at all times that staff are working.

  • Lone support workers should call in at regular intervals to report that they are safe, including at the end of the shift.

  • In a situation where a lone worker feels under immediate threat of their physical safety, they should call the police directly or inform their line manager who can contact the police for them; the line manager must be careful to take all appropriate information from the lone support worker, such as location and telephone number, and to pass this on to the police. After the incident, the lone worker must fill out an Incident Form.

It is strongly advised that staff carry in their cars the absolute minimum amount of equipment and that they always park their car in a well-lit, public place if at all possible. Thefts from cars are a major area of concern and muggings of staff is a real threat, especially in “high crime” areas. If on foot, staff should avoid dark, unlit, isolated routes to work.

In cases where support and care are to be provided in a “high crime” area or to a service user with a known history of aggression or violence associated with them, then a full risk assessment should be completed by the team leader or manager. Where there is significant risk then the care plan should be altered accordingly to mitigate the risk.

Untoward Incidents

Untoward incidents, including all incidents which involve the use of threat of aggression or violence, should be reported, regularly reviewed and audited.

Related Policies

  • Challenging Behaviour, Violence and Aggression

  • Health and Safety

  • Mobile Phone Use

  • Personal Safety

  • Risk Assessment

Training Statement

The senior management team is committed to the premise that, in order to provide a quality service, the organisation require high-quality staff who are suitably trained, supervised and supported. In particular we are committed to ensuring that:

  • All new staff read, understand and become committed to the policy on quality as part of their induction training.

  • Each member of staff has a personal development plan in which their training needs are identified and a plan made for how such needs will be met.

  • Prime Recruitment’s management undertake to ensure through instruction, practical example and training, that quality is the aim of all members of staff, and that each employee has a proper understanding of the importance of the quality system and its direct relevance to the success of the business.

Additional Guidance

To encourage service users to participate in any type of service user forum or quality assurance group, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) issue a guide to assist in getting started, Guide 17 is available at:

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