Family Counselling Trust

Family Counselling Trust (FCT) is a registered mental health charity providing key early intervention counselling support to children, young people (up to age 18) and their families. It was founded in Dorset in 2005 to respond to the growing challenges facing families and young people – emotional, behavioural or other mental health problems – where they were unable to access timely and adequate support.  FCT raises funds to enable parents on stretched incomes to access help for their children, with the charity subsidising the cost of the therapy. FCT offers children and young people an early opportunity to be supported by a qualified psychological therapist, in what is an holistic service involving the families.

The vision of the Family Counselling Trust (FCT) is to continue to grow its services so that appropriate counselling is made available at an early stage to every family with a child or adolescent who is experiencing challenging mental health issues.

Family Counselling Trust approached the Charity IT Association for a Tech Surgery as they urgently needed to set up a secure email system and get an external and unbiased perspective on their current IT setup.

Through the ‘Tech Surgery’ CITA volunteer Stephen identified the charity needed:

    • A securely encrypted (end to end encryption if possible) email set up to handle confidential personal information between the charity’s users, volunteers and officers.
    • With immediate effect, the creation of up to 20 email users/addresses. This will likely increase to perhaps 40 addresses within one year.
    • The ability of the staff/trustees/volunteers to open/save information to a common secure database or file storage area.

With changing government legislation and codes of practice it was urgent for the organisation to have more confidential and secure emails in place.

Following a successful CITA Tech Surgery, Family Counselling Trust have implemented the recommendations which are compliant with new legislation and codes of practise.

What difference did CITA’s support make?

Stephen, our CITA volunteer, has made a huge difference to our charity.  He was incredibly thorough in his IT recommendations and their implementation.  Not only was the new email system implementation quick but Stephen remained calmly in the background as we all got used to the new set-up.  Nothing fazed him.  The new system itself is much better, a more professional way of working.

What action did you take as a result of the Tech Surgery? What were the positive outcomes?

Following Stephen’s recommendations, we migrated our email system over to 365 and were able to access special charity rates for this.  Currently we have just under 20 email users with the scope for more.  We are now looking at setting up a cloud-based database system to allow our workers in different geographical areas to access the same information concurrently.  Stephen picked up other items in our systems that we would not have thought about and made recommendations as he went along, all contributing to a much tighter, more professional set-up.

Can you provide a quote on the longer term benefit delivered by the Tech Surgery? In particular have there been any cost savings and/or improved ability to deliver your aims?

We now have a more professional email system with more scope to develop other features, like the database.  The implementation itself checked the status of other IT items which allowed us to update them, where necessary.  It’s been really important for us to do all of this. Thank you very much!