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Supported by the FRF Directory (www.fiferights.org.uk/frf-directory) of advice agencies, the Fife Online Referral Tracking (FORT) system is a web-based referral system designed to encourage and improve referrals between agencies and promote joint-working across Fife.

 

FORT is managed by Fife Rights Forum and is currently used by more than 100 agencies across Fife. Since January 2010 more than 3950 people requiring advice or support have been successfully referred via FORT.

 

 

Why signpost or refer?

 

A wealth of evidence has highlighted the importance of taking a more holistic approach to needs assessment in order to improve the potential for the client to achieve a positive and sustainable outcome. Referral and signposting are often a vital part of this process by helping ensure a client gets the right help from the right people at the right time.

 

 

Why FORT?

 

Referral and signposting across the advice and rights sector can often be patchy or ad hoc and depend on personal relationships between frontline staff. FORT can help foster the development of a culture of advice in which referral and signposting is consistent and routine. It can help improve awareness of the importance and effectiveness of joint-working and information-sharing, support agencies and staff to work within their own competency or areas of expertise, and aid in the development of a broader understanding and utilisation of other services.

  

Other key benefits of FORT include:

  

For the client

 

  • Personal information is secure
  • Creates a chain of accountability within agencies involved
  • Helps ensure the client is referred to the most appropriate agency-thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome

 

For the agency

 

  • More effective use of service resources
  • Provides useful management information that may be used to aid service planning and delivery, identified gaps in provision, highlight internal staff training needs or provide evidence of service activity for funding applications/management reports
  • Raises service profile

  

For the advice worker

 

  • Quick and efficient
  • Allows workers to track and receive feedback on the outcome of the referral
  • Helps facilitate or build stronger working relationships with staff in other agencies
  • Helps develop knowledge/awareness of other services

 

 

How much does FORT cost?

 

Use of the FORT referral system is currently free for most voluntary and statutory agencies.  Initial training is provided free of charge, however, if you require training to be held outwith your own premises, you may be responsible for the costs of the training venue.

 

 

What are the requirements for using FORT?

 

  1. 1.  All agencies that sign up to FORT are required to agree and adhere to the Fife Rights Forum Information-Sharing Protocols

 

2.  As FORT is web-based it can be accessed from anywhere that has internet facilities.  Although FORT does not need any specific software to be downloaded, the system does require an up-to-date web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3).  Older web browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer 6) may not fully support the system. 

 

3. The majority of users find FORT very easy to use, however, users should have at least basic IT skills.

 

4. A proactive approach and committment to information-sharing and partnership-working.