Guidelines for SWVG Visitors on the Stopping of Regular Visiting

Drafted by Christine Knight, Angela Sealey and Janet Mellor in response to a request from visitors at an SWVG General meeting. The draft has been carefully checked by two former clients, Elsa Tewlide and Mekonnen Frezgi.

The guidelines aim first, to clarify what we mean by Regular Clients, Occasional Clients, and Ex-Clients, second, to outline the usual progress from one stage to the next, and third to offer some practical advice on how visitors might handle the  progression.

A. Clarification of terms Regular, Occasional, and Ex-Clients

REGULAR CLIENTS Most of these clients are trying for a Fresh Claim. A smaller number have an active case and are receiving NASS support but still have great needs. A small number have been granted Leave to Remain but, because of particular difficulties or distress, still have need of befriending. In these cases it is important that the visitor does not attempt practical help which can be better provided by a more specialist organisation/agency.

Regular clients are visited regularly in a neutral place, usually once a week for about an hour.

The reasons for regular visiting are:
– for befriending
– for practical help
– for help to access good legal advice
– for financial help

OCCASIONAL CLIENTS These are previous Regular Clients for whom regular visiting is no longer appropriate. Many have now got Leave to Remain and are working or receiving State benefits in Southampton. Others have moved away from the area, perhaps to friends or to NASS support, a few to detention.

Occasional contact is maintained by text, by phone, or the odd meeting.

(Very rarely an Occasional Client, because of changed circumstances, returns to
being a Regular Client.)

EX-CLIENTS These are former clients who no longer receive any help from SWVG. Some remain friends with their visitors.

B. Progressing from one stage to the next

Regular visiting should always be for a temporary period, never indefinitely. Our aim is to encourage independence in clients. It is also necessary to free up visitors so that they can work with new clients.

If the visitor has personal reasons for cutting down, needs a “break”, or has difficulties with a particular client, it is important to discuss the matter with the Coordinator, who if necessary will arrange for an alternative visitor to take over. It is often helpful for the visitor to discuss the problem in support group and also with the “back-up”.

Occasions when Regular Clients usually become an Occasional or Ex-Client:

  • Client gets Leave to Remain: when a client is in receipt of State benefits,in education, or is employed, regular visiting will normally stop. Supportand advice with housing, employment and integration is available fromCLEAR, the British Red  Cross and other organisations and agencies – andis normally outside the remit of an SWVG visitor. Visitors should point clients in the direction of this more specialist help.
  • Client gets NASS support, s/he will not normally need regular visiting – unless there are outstanding legal or other issues to be settled.
  • Client is detained
  • Client is removed or takes the Voluntary Return option
  • Client moves away from the area
  • Client feels competent to handle his/her own affairs
  • Client has exhausted all legal options
  • There are incidents of violence, or criminal activity
  • Client needs more specialist care and help than SWVG can provide
  • Client presents expectations SWVG cannot meet

C. The Process of Moving on

The aim should always be to encourage the client towards greater independence. The visitor needs to be pro-active in making a client aware of the process. It is also important that the visitor maintain some degree of emotional detachment in his/her dealings with the client.

STRATEGIES, some of which visitors may find useful

  1. Start right from your first visit by explaining that regular visiting is always temporary, that when appropriate it will be reduced and will eventually end. Discuss your client’s expectations as well as what SWVG can offer.
  2. You may not have done this (!), so think of how gently to make your
    a. client aware of the process. A reference to the moving-on process
    b. from time to time is helpful for both parties.
  3. Explain that it’s “not the end of a friendship”; also that you need to become available to work with new clients.
  4. Discuss with the client: “Do we need to meet next week?”, “Can you manage to sort this out yourself?”
  5. Encourage client input: “What would you like to discuss when we
    a. meet, what has been helpful/less helpful”?
  6. Promise to ring/text/email the following week, instead of visiting. Or simply say, “I cannot come next week”.
  7. Suggest, “If there’s a problem you want to discuss do telephone me.”
  8. Discuss the subject in your support group.
    b. —————————————————————————–

Suggested timing of presentation of these guidelines;

3rd Sept – Exec considers the guidelines and agrees on any modifications

Guidelines circulated to members with the September Newsletter

1st Oct – General meeting: Guidelines to be presented, altered in line with members’ suggestions and adopted. Suggest that we ask Jackie Batchelor to lead this discussion.

Follow-up – suggest we ask Jackie to devise some sort of “absorption” activity.

Last Updated: 27/03/2019 – Next Update Due: