Lesson 5: Signposting and Referring Copy

Organisations offering information, advice or guidance will often need to signpost or refer clients to other agencies as they will not always be able to meet their needs.

Referral

A more formal process where a client is introduced to another organisation that will be able to help them meet their needs. This can be done by: taking their details and passing these on to another organisation who will then contact them making contact with another organisation for them and making an appointment actually taking the client to the other organisation to meet with an adviser who can help

Signposting

Telling the client about information available to them and where they can go to obtain this. Examples include: a website where information can be found a telephone number, for example a helpline the name and address of an organisation who can provide the required support

The following are situations in which a client should be signposted:

  • the service required is not or can’t be provided by the adviser as it is beyond their authorised level of competence
  • specialist legal advice is required that the adviser can’t provide
  • another adviser is able to deal with the case more effectively
  • the adviser cannot deal with the case due to their workload
  • the case needs urgent action that the adviser can’t provide
  • the adviser thinks there might be a conflict of interest if they take the case
  • the adviser decides to withdraw from a case

Examples of signposting and referral – Think about your own organisation and when clients are signposted and/or referred. There are some examples from different settings below to help you.

ScenarioSignpostingReferral
Chelsea is 15 and has been studying a hospitality course at school, she wants to continue with this at college when she leaves school but doesn’t know what she needs to do next.Chelsea is provided with some brochures and contact telephone numbers for three colleges which she would be able to get to easily from home, it is suggested that she telephones the colleges to see what is on offer and what she needs to do next.Each of the three colleges are contacted and an appointment is made at each college for an informal interview to assess which course would be the best for her. She is provided with the name of each person she will be seeing and appointment times.