With the introduction of the new universal intake form from April 1, the departments under the Ministry of Social Care should improve on service delivery to their clients.
That is the view of the Ministry’s Director of Social Policy, Research and Planning, Kirk Humphrey.
Speaking about the rationale for such a form, Mr. Humphrey said that the Ministry was “moving towards empowering clients and having a seamless Ministry”, so that clients’ needs would be dealt with from department to department “in a more efficient manner”.
Clients will be required to provide geographic information such as where they live, and demographic information – income level, finances, health, household, background, etc.
“If we are able to have one form in a uniformed manner, then hopefully we should be better able to treat our clients and improve the whole notion of service delivery within the social services sector. The whole idea is to enhance the coordination and reduce duplication and to better service the clients that we are called upon to serve,” he remarked.
Explaining how the process for completing the form would go, he said a trained officer would be responsible for gathering the information in a general conversation with the new client.
“If we are able to get all of the information up front, then it should be obvious to see that we would arrive at a decision quickly. And, the quicker we can make an assessment, the quicker we can make a determination to get the service or whatever it is that the client needs. So, that would improve overall the function of the Ministry and our response to the needs of our clients,” the Director surmised.
Clients would not only be able to have their needs dealt with in a speedier manner because of the reduction of the number of forms to be completed, but according to Mr. Humphrey, they would now be able to visit any one of the social service agencies under the Ministry and present their case.
“…If you present at the National Assistance Board, for example, with an issue that is relevant to the Welfare Department … the officer there would take you through the interview process, so that you wouldn’t have to go to Welfare to be assessed. The form then, internally, is sent to the Welfare Department, and by the time you get there, a determination would have already been made and you would be entitled to your services,’’ he explained.
The official further pointed out that in order for the form to work to clients’ advantage, they must, however, provide the interviewing officer with accurate information.
“…We need to know and to have an accurate representation of their reality and if the information is distorted, even our best efforts will not properly address the situation. We want to have accurate information so that we can offer proper, on-time, accurate solutions; and the only way we can do it is if the clients cooperate with us,” the Director stressed.