Guidance for Summary Notes on Cases

Summary notes in Dynamics are important so that our Operational Support team (OST) can clearly understand why a service user has called the National Support Line (NSL). They also contain critical information for British Red Cross areas in cases where a Local Referral has been made.

NSL operators need to be mindful that, depending on the circumstances of the call, numerous people may read their summary notes. Service users can also request to see information held about them, therefore only facts should be recorded and not opinions.  As all calls are recorded there is no need for verbatim notes.

In alignment with the Red Cross guidance ‘Principles of good clinical, practice and case note recording’ and for all the above reasons, summary notes should:

  • Be concise & factual
  • Be professional
  • Only contain information relevant to the case
  • Identify Signposts given to caller for support/guidance/information
  • Identify where a Local Referral has been made
  • Identify Safeguarding concerns and actions taken, including name of Safeguarding agent and Datix requirement
  • Written with minimum spacing as to keep text tight and clearly associated with Agent
  • Conclude with clear instructions (NFA or Local Referral raised)
  • End with Agent XXXX, Date, Time of call.

Examples of typical calls:                   


If a caller wants to remain anonymous, operators should not record any identifiable details in Dynamics or anywhere else (including in summary notes and on WhatsApp).

Notes for anonymous callers should be brief and only need include: why the caller has contacted NSL, what support you have provided, NFA, Agent ID, date, and time of call.


SU called as they were feeling lonely.  Signposted to Silverline and Salvation Army.  NFA Agent xxxx 20/06/21 11:25

SU called needing help with finance and occasional food. Signposted to CAB and Trussell Trust. NFA Agent XXXX 08/10/21 14:58

Caller needs transport for her 1-year-old daughter’s upcoming appointment at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.  She is unable to afford public transport, no friends or family are available, and GP is unable to help. Signposted to British Red Cross / local Independent Living team. No further action is needed. Agent XXXX 23/3/21 10:16

SU called as they had not been in the country long and needed support. Signposted SU to the British Red Cross Refugee Services centre closest to him. Also gave him the number for Migrant Help and Shelter. NFA. Agent XXXX 08/04/21 12:54.


Where consent is needed to provide support, callers must be asked for consent to record their details. These calls may include:

  • Local British Red Cross referral for support with food or medication
  • Where callers need their details to be emailed to Refugee Support
  • Cases involving Safeguarding

If a caller already exists in Dynamics, the operator should follow these guidelines:

  • For previous cases less than 5 days old with no new referral, add a line space after last notes and then add new ones.
  • For previous cases more than 5 days old, create a new case.
  • For any new referrals create a new case.

Below are examples of each:

Food Referral (identify days of substantive meals left, number of persons and any special dietary requirements)

Caller needing food urgently. Three adults in household, have food for tonight but nothing for breakfast. Caller usually uses local foodbank, but they aren’t open for another 3 days.  One adult is allergic to wheat and porridge. Caller has not been referred for BRC support previously. Local referral raised for immediate food need. Agent XXXX. 14/06/20 10:20

Medication Referral (identify both location of pickup and delivery)

SU requires urgent medication collection. She cannot go out of the house as she tested positive some days ago and has no one to go collect her medication. She also needs some financial support.  Signposted to Turn 2 Us for financial assistance.  Local referral raised for medication to be collected.  Agent XXXX 13/08/20 16:44

Caller needs details to be emailed to Refugee Support

SU called as they had not been in the country long and wanted support.  They are not known to the Red Cross.  Signposted him to Migrant Help and Shelter and due to no credit on his phone please email SU’s details to Edinburgh Refugee Support. Agent XXXX 08/04/21 12:54pm

Adding notes to existing cases

Caller needs help collecting her medication from a pharmacy on Broad Street, Newcastle before 18/09/2021. Her daughter would usually collect for her but is currently isolating. Local referral raised for medication collection.  Agent XXXX 16/09/21 14:41

Caller rang back to inform that her neighbour has offered to collect the medication. Please advise local area that support is no longer needed. Agent XXXX 17/09/21 10:15

Safeguarding case (raise concern to Supervisor and report to Safeguarding)

Caller is seeking food vouchers as her Universal Credit won’t come for another 10 days and her local food bank is closed for the next four days. During the call, the caller revealed that their partner was taking their money and has been physically abusive recently but was working away from home for the next few days. Called Safeguarding Assurance Team after speaking with Supervisor and with agreement of caller. Caller signposted to domestic abuse charities (Refuge). Local referral raised for food provision. Safeguarding officer on duty was ___________ and they requested a Datix report be raised. Agent XXXX 8/10/21 17.32


When using Language Line, follow the process detailed above for anonymous and identified callers and include the Language Line Agents ID and language spoken in your summary notes.


Farsi, LL Agent xxxx – SU called wanted telephone number for our Refugee Services in Manchester.  Signposted to Red Cross Refugee Services Greater Manchester. NFA Agent XXXX 08/10/21 14:58


A case should only be created if contact is made. Follow the process and examples detailed above for anonymous, identified, and non-English speaking callers.  In your summary notes do not refer to voicemails or the line number given to you by your supervisor.


The NSL occasionally receives calls that warrant special notes so that the OST can follow up on them i.e., high intensity users (repeat callers), incidents or inappropriate/abusive callers.  Operators should start their summary notes with specified text to enable OST to identify them immediately i.e., HIGH INTENSITY USER (REPEAT), GLASGOW STRIKE (example), WARNING GIVEN etc.

Warning given – Verbal Abuse/Disrespectful or made Racial comments/discussions or Sexual comments/discussions.


HIGH INTENSITY USER – Chatted with caller, reminded him at start of conversation we are offering our callers the opportunity to chat with us for up to 30 minutes per day.  Advised 20 minutes into call that we had 10 minutes left.  Drew conversation to a close at 30 minutes and explained he could call us back tomorrow if he wanted.  NFA Agent xxxx 01/09/21 12:39

WARNING GIVEN – Inappropriate language towards black people and women. Caller used disparaging language and became antagonistic after I warned him. He calmed down and the call continued but I had to end it because the abuse started again. NFA. Agent XXXX 13/07/2021 10:45

WARNING GIVEN – Caller was aggressive on the phone and was frustrated that no one was supporting their need for food. They became abusive and I explained to them that I would have to end the call if they continued in is manner.  As caller continued to be abusive, I ended the call. NFA Agent XXXX 24/08/21 13:30