The First Point Community Portal – The Future of Community Platforms

By Alexandra Koyfman on 2nd August 2018

The First Point Community Portal has just launched in the Isle of Man.  First and foremost, the First Point Community Portal  enables emergency services personnel to more quickly provide better care to members of our community in emergency situations. People in our community who need additional support can register their information on a secure portal so that emergency services personnel can access it, quickly and easily, during a crisis.

The First Point Community Portal has been developed by PDMS and is powered by PDMS’ underlying community platform, Signed Up. The pilot launched mid-June on the Isle of Man and will run until the end of December 2018.

So how does it work? People can either create a profile for themselves, attend a registration support session hosted by PDMS, or request that one of the project’s charity partners create and manage a profile on their behalf.

Then, emergency services personnel can search through profiles using a separate, password-protected, secure channel during emergency situations in order to more quickly:

  • identify a person,
  • bring the person to a place of safety,
  • provide better care for the person, and
  • contact loved ones sooner.

Police officers will be able to access the First Point Community Portal’s search function through government-issued phones and Emergency Services Joint Control Room operators will have access on their monitors.

In line with PDMS and GDPR principles, community members will always be in control of their own data on the portal. Further, data will be held securely in accordance to the International Security standard ISO 27001 and UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Plus Certificate of Compliance certifications awarded to PDMS.

Through our current partnerships, our primary focus to date has been on helping the older generation. However, we  believe the portal will benefit anyone who may experience other day to day difficulties such as physical challenges or mental health issues. More broadly, we hope the First Point Community Portal will help to foster better connections within our community.

The First Point Community Portal project was established to help provide emergency services personnel with as much information as possible when responding to a call out involving people who need additional support.

I met with our charity and emergency services partners to better understand the challenges they face when dealing with people who need additional support.

I asked leaders of the Isle of Man Live at Home Schemes, Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man, Manx Deaf Society, and Manx Blind Welfare Society what the minimum information their service users would be willing to provide to emergency services personnel. Our conversations allowed me to gain an understanding of the needs of those supported by the charities and highlighted challenges in emergency situations I had previously not been aware of. For example, I had not realised the extent to which someone living with dementia would assure others nothing was amiss when actually wandering from home.

I also met with members of the Isle of Man Constabulary, Isle of Man Emergency Services Joint Control Room, and Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service to determine the minimum information they would need to better respond to an emergency. Most alarming was the statistic that, on average, the Isle of Man Police respond to over 100 non-criminal incidents a month involving people living with day to day difficulties.

The First Point Community Portal platform will also help to foster even greater trust between the emergency services personnel and community members. The police are often the first point of contact on the scene of an emergency situation. Using the portal, they will be able to identify an individual and where they live, find out about any special needs and, if necessary, access contact details for a loved one.

Getting the charity partners and the emergency services personnel together in one room to discuss the project and the needs of individuals requiring additional support helped us gain a much better understanding of issues on all sides. Working collaboratively, we were able to ensure that the platform could meet the needs of all of the parties involved.

Our charity partners and emergency services partners have played a key role in helping us to develop the First Point Community Portal and in addition to using it, they are also helping to promote the portal to the wider community.

The First Point Community Portal project has also received strong backing from local businesses on the Island. PDMS has supported and facilitated the project as the initial sponsor and technology provider. Other businesses are kindly supporting the project through sponsorship.

The future of the First Point Community Portal will be achieved through the generous support of our sponsors, Celton Manx, PwC Isle of Man, and Apex Fund Services (IOM) Limited . These organisations are firmly behind the project and also have the opportunity to take on an advisory role.

Profile raising for the project will also be carried out with support from our corporate partners – pillars of our local community who will help distribute information about the project to their customers: Lloyds Bank, Tesco, Isle of Man Post Office, Emjays, MannVend, and Ellan Vannin Fuels.

The First Point project is a great example of how the charity sector, the public sector (in this case the emergency services), and the private sector on the Island have come together, using an innovative approach to technology to address a problem in our community. Every organisation involved in this exciting project fulfils a vital role within the wider goal of supporting members of our Isle of Man community.

We are always looking to partner with other local businesses to help spread the word about this new community service. If you would like to learn more, please visit firstpoint.signedup.im, email [email protected], or call 01624 664000. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on the project (facebook.com/FirstPointCommunityPortal)!