Presentation on theme: "Part I: Vision & Goals. Build a Foundation There are many reasons to create a hotline. Some have to do with client access; some have to do with funding."— Presentation transcript:
Build a Foundation There are many reasons to create a hotline. Some have to do with client access; some have to do with funding. The number one reason hotlines fail is because the program and/or staff do not recognize the goal of having a hotline and its benefit for clients.
Vision The backbone of leadership is vision. Your vision for the Hotline guides all decisions on support, design, implementation, and management.
Vision Vision means you articulate –How it will fit within your programs mission –How it will fit within your programs delivery system(s) –Advantages and disadvantages of a hotline in your program –Impetus for creating hotline now
Role of Hotline in the Programs Mission The hotline needs to have clear reasons-for-being to be sustainable. –Mission: How is the Hotline going to support the mission of the program? What is the nexus between starting a Hotline and the mission of the work we do? –Delivery Systems: How is the Hotline going to fit into existing delivery systems, or change them.
Role of the Hotline in the program & the delivery system Gateway to services Intake system Service provider Referral provider Identifier of patterns and trends Collector of data Coordinate Services (in multi-program environment)
Role of Hotline in Your States Justice System How are pro se services perceived? –If few or no pro se services are available in your state or area, this may impact the ability of the hotline to provide services, or may dictate what kinds of services should be prioritized. Wherever limited services exist, you will notice that volume overtaking the hotline. Example: family law matters.
Role of Hotline in Your States Justice System Ethical Rules and Support from the Bar –Unbundled Services –Use of paralegals –Ghostwriting Planners need to be familiar with their ethics rules regarding these issues and review them with hotline staff.
Myths and Facts Every delivery system has pros and cons. Your vision and leadership will determine your ability to mitigate challenges and build an effective system What are the perceptions of the Pros and Cons?
Advantages for Hotline One point of entry for client & Efficient Quicker decisions for clients: Yes or No Uniform intake standards -- higher quality of intake and advice Cheaper: cost per case is lower after start-up Common supervision and intake decisions Frees up branch offices and full service staff Bridges rural inequities More clients served in more areas More exposure to client community Improves technology infrastructure for advocates Identifies advocacy trends for full services
Perceptions of Disadvantages Expensive to start Loss of exposure to clients by advocates doing full-rep Clients need representation not advice: a Hotline gives more people service, but not in-depth service. Diversion of staff time and resources into limited service Less control over case acceptance or less control over experienced issue-spotting
Pros Versus Cons? An exact polarity of the pros and cons of a hotline, in fact, does not exist. A hotline or CIU is neither all these pros or all these cons. These are the issues that you need to consider in the development of your hotline. Many options exist to mitigate most concerns. A successful hotline is the result of vision, the assessment and addressing of these issues, and leadership.
The Impetus for some Hotline Funding Cuts Influx of Specific / Targeted Funding LSC-initiatives / Mergers Geographic Inequities (Equitable Service to Rural Populations) Larger Service Area Speedier Decisions and Acceptance on Cases Client Convenience Improving Efficiency of Full Service Staff Providing Advice in Expanded Areas Increase Numbers Served
Exercise I: Mission and Goals What are the reasons your hotline is being created? What are the main barriers to buy-in on the mission and vision? What concerns exist or are expressed as cons? Who is the leader of the effort?
Major Decisions Define the Model Define the Services Determine the Staffing Map Out Basic Operations Articulate Goals for Clients, Staff, and Administration
Services of Hotlines Intake Screening: income eligibility, conflict checks, and general case acceptance Diagnosis of Legal Matter Fact-Specific Advice to All Callers or only Case-Eligible Callers Brief Service Centralization Pro Se Assistance Providing Written Client Information Directing Clients to Online or Written Resources Improved and Targeted Referrals to Agencies Traffic reports or Systemic problem identification Developing Cases for Pro Bono Panel (hotline tells client how to prep for meeting with lawyer)
Clients Served People eligible by legal problem type People eligible by age People eligible by income Special needs? Emergency cases? Seniors Limited English Proficient Some victims of domestic violence Specific legal matters that require specific handling
Geographic Scope Local area Regional: Urban or Rural or Both? Statewide
Relationship to Other Legal Services Providers Does it Serve One Program? One office Many offices Many Programs? Include this in your vision to facilitate making it a reality as you design and implement the hotline
Model of Hotline Stand-alone Within a legal services program Within another kind of program (e.g., bar association) (An important issue in this decision is the use of LSC funds and how the hotline will comply with LSC restrictions.)
Stand-alone Hotline Standalone Advice, Brief Service, Referrals Legal Aid Offices Title IIIB Legal Services Consumer Agencies Social Services Pro Bono Attorneys Low Fee Attorneys Long Term Care Ombudsman Health Insurance Counseling
Hotline Intake Unit (Single Office) Intake/ Screening Advice Brief Service Full Service Unit Referral Clients Call In
Multi-Program Intake Hotline Intake, Advice, Brief Service, Referrals Special Population Programs Legal Aid Offices Title IIIB Legal Services Family Law Programs LSC programs Pro Bono Project Special issue Programs
Call Routing and Flow Eligibility Screeners Handling Special Callers (LEP, DV, Elderly, Emergencies) Call Back or Limited Call Back Systems
Basic Operations What are current hours of intake? What are intended hours? Considerations? Shifts
Staffing and Productivity Screener vs. Advocate Which staffing model is more productive?
Factors Complexity of Necessary Screening Range of priority subjects Ratio of screeners to advocates Call Back vs. Queue Bilingual Services
Staffing Good listening and interviewing skills Knowledge of area of law in the most frequently asked questions Understanding of hotline operations Good computer typing skills (or fast two- finger approach) From: More Frequently Asked Questions about Hotline Operations, by Jan May, et al. MIE, July 1995, page 33.
Staffing the Hotline Staff Attorneys and Paralegals – Easy Supervision and Scheduling – High Level of Expertise – Stable and accessible Volunteers and Law Students – The Price Is Right –Difficult to Find – May Be Difficult to Supervise – Continuity May Be Erratic
Attorneys Pros: –Attorneys are easy to train in the substantive areas of law. –Can be used in multiple ways (as supervisors) –Can expand the services of hotline easily to provide limited representation. –Easier quality control systems. Cons: –Cost –Paradigm shift: Need to change their thinking. Skill is to instruct client on how to solve problem for themselves versus approaching the problem as if client will be represented.
Non-Attorneys –Non-attorneys are conscientious about learning the areas of law, but training time is longer and extensions supervision is needed. Depth of knowledge is weak. Quality control methods are essential.
Volunteer Lawyers Pros –They are free, specialized, motivated. –Can participate or help in materials or training. –Best used in their specific area of specialty only. –Good to use if phone system allows for off-site routing of calls (from their office). Cons –They are busy and frequently do not show depending on their own case loads. This, in turn, affects their ability to retain training information. –A hotline is only partially about legal advice; a lot of record keeping. They are not good at keeping track of that. Need to take time to train and keep motivated.
Volunteer Law Students Pros –Free. Their involvement helps establish a relationship with a local law school and future people in the profession. Potential screening for future staff. A program can consider creative approaches to retention commit for two semesters and well pay for your summer internship. Cheap and quality, and you can expand their involvement over time, to extended service. Cons –They require training. Several programs wont accept law students unless there is a commitment for at least two semesters, 1 - 2 shifts a week. Also, youll have to juggle finals and breaks.
Inherited v. New Hires Inherited Staff –Extremely knowledgeable, cross-training needed in other areas, can use them in the training and material development, already versed in administrative requirements. –Morale, perceptions of work, may be viewed as a demotion, may be unwilling to change former practices.
Staffing Discussion Discuss advantages or disadvantages to each staffing option. For ex: Lawyers v. non-lawyers; generalists v. specialists; contract v. staff; part- time v. full-time? What factors did you consider to determine staff size of the hotline or CIU? What mechanisms or systems need to be in place for certain staffing patterns to be successful? If you use volunteers, how are they used and with what success? If you rotate staff in from different offices, can they do it from their offices, do they come into the main office, and how are they supervised if remote? For programs that inherit a staffing pattern, what are your options?
Exercise 2: What is the Scope of Your Hotline? Stand alone or Integrated What services offered? What geographic scope of services? What clients served? What is relationship of hotline to other programs, other offices, other units? Hours of operation and intended shifts?
Budget & Cost Determinations Create a start-up budget Staffing Technology Development of Materials and Policies Office space and equipment Training On-going costs Staffing Refresher training Volunteer recruitment and coordination Technology Maintenance Upgrades
Staffing Costs Direct Costs –Salaries for all staff Attorneys, paralegals and/or intake specialists Fringe –Include consultants Technical support Project managers Indirect costs (time allocated to implementation) –% time for executive and management staff –Researching existing, mature systems –Collecting samples and drafting materials –Recruiting Advertising Interviews and references Initial orientation and training
All the Bells and Whistles technology expenses Computers –Hardware and equipment –Software Open source versus licensing costs Telephones –Hardware –Software and VOIP –Consultants and RFPs
Laying Foundation Written Materials Create your own from samples Mission and Core Values Parameters Policies and Procedures Case handling criteria Checklists and flowcharts Scripts Reference materials Client Legal Information, Brochures, Online Self Help Space & Equipment Office furniture-desks, chairs, cubicles v. offices (Issue of volume control) Office supplies/postage Fax, copier, scanner Calculate overhead Rent and utilities
Staff Training Costs Cost Savings Tips and Resources –Cheaper or Free Trainers. Experienced attorneys in-house for substantive law Online training presentations with experienced hotline managers Community partners –Referrals and resources –Non-substantive skills –Working with special populations including seniors, mental health consumers, LEP, physically disabled –Prepare for Next Training: Video your trainings for future use
Staff Training Resources AARP Foundation National Legal Training Project –Web Trainings for Lawyers on Particular Topics Legal Aid University http://www.legalaiduniversity.org/ http://www.legalaiduniversity.org/ –Web Trainings for Hotline Lawyers Bar-Sponsored Classes
Sample Budgets from Forerunners Telephone Consulting and Systems: –APALC spent $XX on phone systems and phone consulting –NWJP spent $XX on phone systems and upgrades –Bay Legal spent $XX on telephone technology Case Management Systems: –Bay Legal spent $XX on CMS tweaks –APALC spent about $25,000 on a customized, newly created CMS developed for their hotline –Others: Start Up Management –Bay Legal spent $XX on start up management Room and Basics –Bay Legal spent $XX on the room
Resource Development Funding sources and strategies Using data to support the proposal Writing strong narratives on technology and new delivery systems
Funding sources & strategies Sources –Local, regional, state, federal –Private foundations and corporations –Developing new sources (tech- related, telecom) Strategies Formal, written development plan Designated staff Collaborations Sustainability Seek guidance from funded legal services programs Seed funding and apportioning contributions Psychology in resource development
Grant Writing Think creatively about how you use data 1.Establish quality by Range of services provided Expertise Productivity in number of clients served and accomplishments Client satisfaction 2.Use national data if you dont have local data
Grant Writing 1.Sell the hotline concept : Some social service funders dont like to pay for attorney services, so may take extra explaining. The NUMBER ONE way to sell the concept is to showcase dramatic personalized stories that show how a difference was made. KEEP A BRAG FILE. 2.Demonstrate the need Data on the volume of incoming calls and referrals to other programs Research court pro se filings Address in detail services of other agencies Discuss outcomes
Part IV: Leadership and Change Managing Barriers to Implementation
Implementing a Hotline Brings Change In your program and its culture Relationship w/other agencies and the courts With your funders and grants team Within your management team and management infrastructure See, Melissa Pershing, MIE Exchange, Fall 2000.
Change is difficult Emotional intelligence of your program, can it get thru change? Timing considerations Operate in concepts of abundance and not scarcity Hotline will change your program and its culture See, CEO-in, Something completely Different, MIE Exchange, Kay House, Spring 2002, pg. 7-8.
Hotline Starts From the Top Involve top level management in the planning of the hotline Have hotline manager report to first or second in command Hotline manager needs to be part of the management team
Develop a Timeline to Tackle All the Concerns From Each Different Group Start internally: focus on staff, management team, and MIS Identify stakeholders Identify valid concerns and work on those Identify limits of hotline, choose a model that works for your program Transform initial resistance into a dialog and opportunities for feedback and ownership 1.See, Kay House, CEO-ing, Something Completely Different, MIE Exchange, Spring 2002, pg 7-8.
Fears of Staff Incorporate autonomy w/in daily schedules Include training time and down time into schedule Assign areas of ownership and special projects to each person Allow staff to as a team develop their own shift schedules, break time, etc. and be responsible for coverage Create a team that is a problem solving, self- reliant, and that can work together to overcome most obstacles. See John Tull, MIE Exchange, Spring 2003 and Victor Geminiani, The implementation of a hotline, MIE Exchange, July 1995.
Overcoming Fears of Routine and Mediocrity Quality Assurance: Always have access to expert attorneys while on duty Have attorney(manager) read all of the cases done by the hotline for at least the first 9 months Incorporate training time into the hotline schedule Have others review a 10-20% of closed cases, other than manager a)See, John Scanlnn MIE 2003,
Outside Stakeholders If you need funding to do it, you will need to work w/funders on it Hard to pitch a concept, w/out any data, no outcomes Focus on a specific type of funding and on a funder that understands hotlines, technology and may offer you technical assistance
Look at your Current Infrastructure Review your advocacy manual Review your basic job descriptions and salary scale Review your intake/case management software Review your management group Do they support a hotline? Do any of these need to change?
Evaluation of Hotline Key to Overcome Challenges Since your hotline will be an experiment, it will be under steady scrutiny by inside and outside Evaluation of the hotline will change the way you measure outcomes and performance for the rest of your program See Shoshanna Ehrlich, Elements of a High Quality Hotline, MIE Exchange, Beyond Serendipity.
Constant Monitoring of Hotline Keep a record on 10-12 numbers every week, month, quarter. 1.Number of calls per advocate 2.Number of cases per advocate 3.Distribution of cases, per area of law and county 4.% of clients referred for extended representation, in-house or to another program
Sample Goals Sample Goals for Hotlines –Goals for clients –Goals for staff –Goals for administration and management
Goals for Clients Painless, uncomplicated experience for callers Free, Easy Access to our Program on a First Call Reduced wait time Ability to respond to emergencies Easy Access to Advocates on a First Call After-Hours Options Ability to Leave Messages with Advocates Representing Them (24-hour/7-day) Mechanism to Support Assistance to ALL Counties Easy Access 24/7 to Common Legal Questions A Person is Always Available When Open Multi-lingual Capacity
Goals for Staff No Geographical Barriers Among Staff: Our staff should be able to freely and frequently talk with each other for mentoring, case discussions, work planning, supervision and other types of support, whether or not they are based in the same physical office. Maximized Use of Our Support staff: Support staff should be available for phone answering and document preparation for all offices and advocates, regardless of the physical office where they are based. Promote Productivity and Flexibility for Staff: Advocates should have flexibility to work from remote locations where appropriate to increase productivity and effectiveness. Facilitate Use of Pro Bono Attorneys and Part-Time Staff: Pro bono attorneys should have easy ability to communicate with clients and receive support from legal services staff, without having to physically come to the legal services office.
Goals for Staff Ability for Judges, Politicians, Funders, or Others to Reach Specific Persons without Waiting: Non-Clients who need to reach project managers and directors should be able to locate and reach a personal extension of desired staff, easily. Improved Client Referrals by Subject Matter: Clients in cue for an initial intake advocate should be able to self-select when appropriate based on their legal matter to enable effective use of pro bono or specialized staff. Improved Client Referrals by Location: Clients in a cue for an initial call should be able to be routed by area code (or prefix) to the office that best serves them, if a centralized hotline is not used.
Sample Vision for Administration and Management Ability to Partner and Link with Social or Other Legal Services Programs: Our hotline or call intake system should have the ability to directly transfer calls based on appropriate referrals to participating agencies. Improved Reporting and Management: Our managers should easily be able to create accurate reports of call, hold, service spikes, and other patterns; and should be able to assess advocate efficiency and performance. Ability to Link the Case Management System to our Phone System. Ability to Provide for Current or Future Opportunities for Video Conferencing between offices or other partner agencies. Telephone solutions should be integrated with our data systems, easily maintained, and cost effective. Inter-office calls should be free of charge, and long-distance charges should be below market rates.
Resources The following resources can be found at: www.legalhotlines.org www.legalhotlines.org ABA Standards For the Operation of Telephone Advice Lines Legal Hotlines: A How to Manual Legal Hotline Attorneys Manual Legal Hotlines Self-Evaluation Measures Report Senior Legal Hotlines Annual Report 2004
Handling the Details CMS – review your CMS from order of how prompt moves and special helpline data do you want to capture –Delete any unnecessary data collection - this just slows down the whole process –Keeping client records and correspondence, do they attach to CMS or separate docs –Document assembly, hotdocs or something else? Telephone - what is your plan for call routing based on Language and substantive law type –What is your maximum client hold time - limited or unlimited –what are your open incoming call hours - remember to plan for time to complete advice and brief service cases, call current clients with on- going issues etc. Plan for probono hours also Outreachhow will calls get to you? Do you need outreach? Will your staff do outreach? LEP what is your plan for LEP clients - phase in? start at once? use interpreters? Language Line?
The Details Follow up--will you send follow up information to clients after the call? Do you have brochures available and ready to go? What is the protocol if there are deadlines for materials? what other post-call actions will you take Training/ resources for staffcanned notes or questions that pop up for your case handlers? staff training program what resources are available at every attorney's desk for quick access Statewide Websites -- Probono.net? Lawhelp.org? websites w/court info? Registry of action? does your state have an on-line case look up system - if so train staff on how to use it Counsel and advice, brief service unitmake sure you understand where the hotline stops and other providers work begins. Start small, then expand. Gauge volume before you take more than you can chew.
Pro Bono and volunteersremote agents capacity? Hours? Training and supervision? what is your client evaluation plan, telephone surveys, written surveys etc. Evaluation--how do you comply with the ABA and LSC helpline standards what is your plan for client file management - hardcopy files, computerized files (attach files to CMS or separate system) what is your client evaluation plan, telephone surveys, written surveys etc. Ethics--what are your state's ethical rules related to unbundling? Conflicts? Scope of services? how will you integrate with court based pro se programs