For solicitors organising and negotiating contact arrangements between parents and children isn’t often straightforward. There are so many people to please. From judges and courts who want to avoid delay, to parents in conflict. Not to mention the most important people in the equation - the children themselves.
As a solicitor, you want the process to be swift, efficient and seamless. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do on your end to make that happen. That’s why you need a contact centre that knows and appreciates the difficulties of contact arrangements, but also knows how to solve them.
What exactly does that entail? What is it that family solicitors need from contact centres?
When it comes to court proceedings involving children, delays are really damaging to what everyone’s trying to achieve. The Children Act 1989 is very clear on this point. As a result, solicitors face pressure to stay organised and be on time, to avoid any damage to a child’s welfare.
For example, if a child’s regular contact with their non-resident parent suddenly stops, they’re going to feel the knee-jerk change in routine. They’ll feel confused, upset, out of control, even rejected. Delays also drag out the process. It takes longer for parents to have contact with their children, which causes distress and upset for both parties. Not to mention, delays mean more time and money has to be put into court proceedings. Not only is that a burden to the family, to the court, and to you, but it’s a burden to the taxpayer as well.
The bottom line? Delays must be avoided. The referral process needs to be seamless. So what do solicitors need from contact centres to enable that to happen?
It’s all well and good finally getting all parties to agree to contact arrangements, but if the contact centres you’re using have no availability, it can feel as though you’re back at square one. Contact centres need to be contactable. They need to avoid long waiting lists, and to do that, they need to manage their time well.
As a solicitor, you’ll be well aware that a lot of contact centres have a referral process that’s either too long, or takes too much time because it involves the back and forth of paper referral forms. A contact centre needs to be accessible, and you need answers to your questions, pretty much instantly.
A contact centre also needs to be physically accessible and easy to find. You can have the best contact centre in the world but if it’s hidden in the middle of nowhere, or isn’t accessible by public transport, then parents will struggle to get the most from it.
As well as the above, the space needs to be comfortable. Your clients may well be anxious about contact and children need to feel safe. There should be plenty of room to play, but also spaces where quiet time can happen if necessary.
These are important moments, and the space needs to foster an environment that makes the contact meaningful and effective.
This is at the crux of everything a contact centre should be. It needs to be able to keep things under control, time manage, stay on top of referrals and waiting lists. When you and your clients have questions, the contact centre needs to be ready to give them.
Being proactive is so important. A contact centre should be focusing on solving problems before they even arise. That way, everyone has a chance of being happy.
Get in touch
At Starting Point, we make it our job to put these things into everything we do. We care about our clients, and we care about your clients too.
We want to do all we can to ensure contact being made at our centre means something. If you’re interested in working with us, give us a call today.