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VCF Community Referral System

The VCF Community Referral System empowers front line professionals e.g. GP’s, teachers, social workers, police community officers to make better use of community services.

Sefton Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) have worked in partnership with VidaVia, a bespoke software development house specialising in public sector, to develop a web based system to support VCF organisations working alongside public sector organisations.

The software allows front line professionals to search for appropriate community services through keyword, post code proximity and various filters then add them to a shortlist. Key data can be printed, viewed on a map or emailed to a client. The professional can also use a confidence button to check the provider out before making a community referral. The community referral advises the service provider to expect a client but does not pass any sensitive data. It can alert the professional if the client does not consume the service and provide valuable feedback from the service provider.

Any service can be added from a local Church service to an expensive commissioned service. Details of whether consent is required, an application form, where to go, what to do when you just turn up and all accessibility information is recorded. The service information is kept up to date by the community groups themselves rather than an expensive central resource. However it also allows named CVS officers/volunteers to update information to support the groups. The system monitors and encourages new organisations to update their data. They can add events to the area calendar to promote their services. The system will alert front line professionals and citizens who have signed up to receive them.

The system helps the CVS with demand management by measuring service provision and recording the signposting and community referrals. It also provides for the annual mapping exercise, making all data available for downloading, feeding into ‘111’ and the local council system. It also offers a series of charts showing performance statistics which can easily be added into reports.

Website: (currently undergoing trials)