Ten years of innovation and partnership
Friday, 26 Apr 2019

In 2019 we celebrate ten years of serving the NHS and the wider UK public sector.

In 2009, wanting to better protect and support lone working NHS staff, the Department of Health provided central funding for 30,000 lone worker devices and associated monitoring services, from which NHS Trusts could request an allocation via a “Framework Agreement”.

Launched after extensive due diligence and procurement processes, the NHS Lone Worker Framework Agreement was managed by NHS Protect on behalf of the NHS Business Services Authority.

Key among the requirements were high quality, well made, discreet lone worker devices, able to record evidence of physical and verbal aggression against staff for use in court. Stringent SLAs covered all key service delivery areas, including alarm handling, enquiry response times and new customer deployments, with financial penalties for non compliance.

Full accreditation with the BS8484 Code Of Practice For Lone Worker Devices was required. Covering devices, alarm receiving centres and over-arching supplier quality systems, training and financial standing, this accreditation enables fast tracking of alerts to the police with Lone Worker URNs, generating Level 1 Police Responses where necessary.

NHS Protect also mandated quality, face-to-face training for every employee issued with a lone worker device, detailed device usage reporting, and field-based support to help customers with contract management and service usage.

Three Frameworks

Reliance Protect won the first Framework contract as sole supplier, delivering 30,000 ID Badge devices into the NHS. The Framework quickly became the foundation of numerous long-term relationships between Reliance and various NHS bodies, many of which still exist today.

The Framework was so successful that its term was extended for a maximum fourth year. It was succeeded in 2013 by a second Framework, won again by Reliance Protect as sole supplier, which also ran for three years, its term also being extended for a maximum fourth year.

With diverse public sector employees facing similar risks to those experienced by core NHS workers, it made sense for NHS Protect to allow public sector organisations beyond the NHS to buy through this second Framework. Reliance expanded into the wider public sector, and today still serves hospices, charities, councils, central government bodies and private sector health providers.

In September 2018, a third Framework agreement was awarded, this time through the NHS Supply Chain. All three Frameworks have been highly successful, with lone worker solutions today firmly embedded in most NHS organisations.

Flexible and adaptable

Although many of the original NHS requirements for lone worker solutions still apply today, there have been significant changes and developments since 2009. Key among them have been continuing moves to deliver more care in the community, and towards 24/7 care provision and more flexible NHS staffing, with lone workers operating from health centres and home as well as from traditional hospital sites. Such factors have increased the challenges for NHS organisations managing larger teams of mobile and lone working staff – Reliance has responded by continuously developing its lone worker safety solutions.

Other changes have been more abrupt. Primary Care Trusts, Reliance’s original NHS customer base, ceased to exist in 2012, with staff moving to other NHS Trust organisations. Staff and service movements between Trusts remain as prevalent now as they were then, demanding extensive flexibility in operation from Reliance Protect. With change always ongoing, Reliance has invested heavily in building flexibility into its solutions.

Working together

Many trusts have been highly innovative, helping Reliance to develop new services and enhance existing ones. Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) is a great example – read about Reliance’s work with NTW here.

Such collaborations have resulted in valuable developments, including Reliance’s Monitor service, which allows users to check in and out on starting and finishing each shift, with Reliance checking on them if they fail to check out on time. Other innovations include Reliance’s online self service portal, a feature-rich contract administration tool allowing customers to easily manage their users, escalation contacts and lone worker devices in real time. Meanwhile the Reliance Protect e-learning portal provides quality online materials to back-up the face-to-face training which is still key to Framework customers.

Device and service advances

Today’s devices are significantly more advanced than those of ten years ago. Available in multiple formats, including key fobs, ID badges and smartphone apps, they offer a wider range of features and improved performance. GPS location technology, for example, in its infancy in 2009, is now standard on all devices and continues to develop, and is key to Reliance Protect’s services.

Service development has been as important as product advances. Larger NHS Trusts often employ thousands, in numerous locations spread across wide areas. To better serve such customers Reliance has developed its field support services considerably. Significant time is spent with local teams and departments across Trusts, securing local buy-in to the service and working to improve usage rates and best practice adoption. Key to this have been Reliance’s Key Account Managers and new training packages for local “super users” who champion the service with their local teams.

Surveys inform decisions

From the outset of the first Framework in 2009, NHS Protect required regular, detailed surveys of customers’ users, contract managers and administrators, to measure the effectiveness and quality of Reliance’s service delivery. These surveys covered every aspect of the service, including training quality, the ease of use, reliability and fitness for purpose of devices, red alert handling, and customer service issues such as approachability and query resolution.

Today, extensive customer surveys are engrained in the Reliance Protect ethos. We have expanded their scope so that above and beyond the standard surveys, every individual accessing Reliance training or the Service Desk is promptly surveyed specifically about their experiences when using  these services. The feedback secured across the range of surveys is invaluable as Reliance continues to work closely with customers to develop and enhance the lone worker safety solutions on which they depend.

A trusted long-term partner

Reliance Protect is proud of its ten-year record in serving diverse organisations, today numbering over 300, through successive NHS Frameworks. Many of these customers have been with Reliance ever since the first Framework, having renewed their contracts three or four times during the ten year period.

Contact Reliance Protect today to discover how your organisation can benefit from our all-inclusive, managed, fixed-fee lone worker safety solutions. Call 0800 840 7121, visit or email