BOOK A DEMO Customer Portal

< Back to Blog

A Day In The Life of an ARC Manager

April 17, 2024

Phil Bestington is right at the hub of the service every day, at our state-of-the-art in-house Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

What does your day look like as an ARC manager, from the moment you step through the door in the morning? 

The first thing I do, and the most important, is say hello to everybody who is in the facility and have a chat. I’ll usually ask how the overnight shift has gone and what’s been happening – and if there’s anything I might need to know about. I’ll then go on to check my emails, and especially if it’s a Monday morning, check on whether there’s anything urgent from over the weekend that needs my attention. 

At the moment a lot of my focus is on some great new projects that we’ve got going on that will significantly evolve our monitoring capabilities. Sometimes there may be customer queries to deal with, monitoring and reviewing the extensive systems and performance KPIs, and quality audits, but mainly I’m just ensuring that I’m available all day and on hand to everyone else in the ARC, supporting the team. We have a highly experienced team of operators and duty managers too, but I’m there as an additional pair of eyes to oversee everything and ensure things are running smoothly. 

Our ARC facility delivers a range of security monitoring services. We have the lone worker and body worn camera alarm monitoring but we also monitor CCTV, intruder detection, and fire systems. We also deliver a number of bespoke services for certain customers. Every day is different!

How involved do you get with incidents?  

It depends on the incident – often I don’t need to get involved, but sometimes I’m on hand if any additional support is required. Sometimes operators and duty managers may seek some input advice from me, which is what I’m here for! 

How do the ARC operators work – are there different shifts?

There are – our ARC monitors 24/7/365. So, we have two separate shifts. Most operators work four days on, and four days off on 12-hour shifts that are split over days and nights. In addition to that, we have a few people that work Monday to Friday as well to cater for the increased volumes of alarms during these periods.

When an alarm comes in – what happens? 

First of all, one of the operators picks it up – it doesn’t matter who, as all of the operators can see them. That operator will listen to the audio that’s coming in from the device, and make an initial assessment. At this point, we don’t know if it’s a genuine or false alarm, so we need to listen carefully for things such as raised voices, aggressive language, any kinds of threats of violence, mention of weapons – basically anything that would cause concern and lead us to believe that this is a genuine alert. On the other hand, if it’s a false alarm, you often hear things such as a car radio (and people singing along!).

Even when it is a false alarm, the operator will make a phone call to the device user anyway – just to be 100% sure that the user is safe. Because sometimes, what you hear and what is happening can be very different situations. Just because it doesn’t sound like anything is going on, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t – and we want to be 100% confident the device user is ok. If it is a false alarm, the operator will get the device user to reset the device and close it down. 

In the unfortunate situation that it’s a genuine red alert alarm, we will continue to monitor the device and determine if and when we need to call the police. If we do phone the police, we have 3 levels of escalation. Firstly, there are the 101 and 999 options, the same as the public use. We also have a third-highest priority escalation process using what is known as Lone Worker Unique Reference Numbers (URNs).  Here we can dial directly into the police control room local to the incident, bypassing the national 999 process, and get the highest priority level one response from them. This is much faster than dialling 999 national service. Our lone worker devices and apps, and ARC require extensive ongoing accreditation to a range of standards to enable us to use the lone worker URN system.

It doesn’t end there though, we don’t just sit back and pass it off to the police. We’ll continue to monitor the alarm until we’re happy the situation has reached a conclusion – we support the user right through to the end of the incident. Finally, we stop the monitoring and confirm that the device or app user is ok. We immediately send a genuine red alert report and also notify the device or app user’s escalation contacts – sometimes the user is quite shaken up and they may not be in a fit state to do this themselves, so we pass the incident on to the organisation that the device or app user works for. We see it as best practice to let the companies know what has happened – the device user may require someone from their organisation to go out and see them, make sure they’re okay and maybe even take them off duty. The final follow-up post-incident is the sending of a more detailed incident report to key contacts within the organisation.

How many genuine alerts can you get in any one day?

It’s hard to say – as it can really differ. No two days or weeks are the same.

What I would say, is that we’ve definitely seen an increase in genuine alerts over the last 12 months or so. It’s difficult to pinpoint why this is. Personally, I believe that these incidents have always been happening, but people in the past may not have necessarily been using their lone worker devices or apps to raise the alert. We have a great team of account managers at Reliance who get closely involved with our customers to ensure they’re 100% confident in using their devices and apps and introduced a range of support initiatives such as educational customer webinars managed by our Customer Success Manager. We also have a really good customer portal, Focus, where our customers can access extensive reports and charts etc around usage of their devices and apps, and see how many staff are using them. I think the fact that we go the extra mile to ensure that people feel supported in getting the most out of their devices and apps really helps and underpins the high usage rates we see generally across our customer base. 

Is there a certain day or time you get more genuine alerts, or do you notice any kind of patterns?

I do a lot of reporting on this to see if I can find any patterns – but guess what, there aren’t any! Every day is different. Years ago, it used to be that there was an increase in genuine alerts on bank holidays, weekends, even full moons! These days, that genuinely doesn’t matter – it can be any day, any time. 

What motivates you to come to work every day?

First and foremost, I like knowing that we’re helping & supporting people who are often delivering frontline services. I really love the technology side of things as well – as well as problem-solving. Of course, I don’t want problems to arise – but I like finding a solution!

From a people point of view too, we have a really great team in the ARC – we genuinely all get along and work well together as a team, which I think is so important in a (sometimes) high-pressure environment like this. There’s just a good atmosphere, and everyone’s always really willing to help each other out. They’re a good bunch!

How long have you been with Reliance? 

Since February 2015, so 8 years now. When I first joined, I was an ARC Operator and I progressed to Duty Manager, and I’ve been ARC Manager since July 2022. 

In your opinion, what sets Reliance apart from similar companies? 

Although similar companies often offer the same services and products (and I may be biased here…), I genuinely feel like my team provides a much higher level of service that I feel is outstanding. Most of the team here have been doing the job for a long time – but they don’t take it for granted and they don’t take liberties with it either. I think our point of difference as a company is how involved we get with our customers and how much support we offer them. We genuinely care that they get the most out of our services, devices and apps. It’s like anything – you can have the best devices and apps on the market, but if you don’t know how to use them properly, then what’s the point? 

At Reliance we’re always developing too – with things such as the customer portal. We get asked all the time if there are certain features we can offer, and if there are things that we can add – and we take that on board and continuously develop. We’re passionate about improving the customer experience. 

 

Reliance Protect’s state-of-the-art in-house Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) has been monitoring lone workers 24/7/365 for many years. We have a combination of alarm handling staff skills and expertise, mature and robust processes and systems, standards accreditation, performance levels and resilience of service. Our ARC is accredited to all the key standards to ensure the highest levels of quality, performance and service resilience.

Reliance Protect has been protecting lone workers and safeguarding organisations since 2006, making it one of the most established and trusted lone worker protection solutions in the UK. Underpinning our technology-driven solutions is our outstanding levels of service delivery and support.

If you’d like to find out how we can make your employees feel safer, more reassured and more valued, book a demo of our services and devices and apps here.