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Improving access to services through efficient and accountable referral pathways

A REFERRAL is the process of directing an individual, household, or community to another service provider, because they require further action to meet an identified need, beyond the expertise or scope of the current service provider.

Referrals are generally a part of the every-day work of frontline staff responding to humanitarian crises. In order to ensure timely and safe access to services of vulnerable communities in need of services through referrals, it is important to structure the referral process between various referral focal points within the organisation, with clear tasks and division of responsibilities, and to abide to the Inter-Agency Minimum Standards on Referrals which ensure that we all make referrals the same way.

You will find below essential documents and trainings to be provided to all new staff joining an organisation, who will be in contact with beneficiaries and therefore likely to engage with referrals:

    • Inter-Agency Minimum Standards on Referrals (2020): This document sets out the minimum standards to abide to when conducting referrals, and explain core concepts related to safe identification and best practices when doing referrals. RIMS is designed along these standards and it is expected from RIMS users that they abide to these standards.
      Inter-Agency Minimum Standard on Referrals
    • Structuring the referral process within your organization: Establishing a clear structure for the referral process within your organization is essential for smooth coordination. This document provides an overview of the referral process and responsibilities of the sender and the receiver of the referral, in order to structure the referral pathways in an efficient manner.
      The Referral Process
    • Safe Identification and Referrals Training: The Safe Identification and Referral training must be undertaken by any new staff member joining a humanitarian organisation, likely to be in contact with a person in need of services, and therefore likely to have to conduct referrals. The Arabic and English version of this training are available below.
      1. Safe Identification and Referral Training – English Version
      2. Safe Identification and Referral Training – Arabic Version