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HelpFirst: AI serving the most vulnerable members of society

What HelpFirst does

HelpFirst uses large language models (LLMs) to safeguard clients and support frontline staff. The old world looked like caseworkers drowning in endless case notes. The new world is ‘cases at a glance’. HelpFirst provides AI- assisted insights and prioritization through a CRM plugin.

The Current Landscape

Tens of millions of people are living in poverty in the UK alone. Local councils are declaring bankruptcy. 91% of UK social workers are experiencing moderate to high emotional exhaustion.

Caseworkers and their managers live in fear of missing a vital detail, and someone vulnerable, like a young child, slipping through the cracks, with fatal consequences. In the past, safeguarding looked like doing admin - up to 80% of a caseworker’s time could go on reading and writing notes, flagging issues to supervisors, and writing emails.

Thankfully, LLMs are now revolutionizing computers’ ability to understand human language.

Company Birth Story

A challenge was set by Citizens Advice Scotland (a large government- funded advice organization): “How can technology help to quickly identify and prioritize support for people in the most vulnerable situations, starting with those having energy problems?”

HelpFirst beat 19 other teams in an open procurement process to win the ‘CivTech’ funding from the Scottish Government, and the chance to develop their solution in partnership with CAS.

The Solution

HelpFirst’s LLM-powered CRM plugin provides automatic triaging, case summaries with visual prompts, and a case mix dashboard. This frees up caseworkers to focus on the human aspects of the job - which is what everyone wants! Organizations can expect to see uplifts in safeguarding outcomes, client satisfaction, operational efficiency, and staff wellbeing and retention. HelpFirst is trained on a specific dataset of casenotes, to identify risk factors that the organization cares most about. The company vision is to build a world where no one falls through the cracks of a system that should be safeguarding them. Other solutions on the market are more generic, and so unable to provide a rigorous safety net.

A Customer Story

Mark Elliott (Head, CivTech Division, Scottish Government) said: “HelpFirst are a superstar team. Their speed out of the gate was absolutely phenomenal. The team really embodies the ethos of CivTech, marrying innovation with the demands of government delivery.”

The Team Culture

Andy Bell (Founder & CEO) was inspired to start HelpFirst through a heartbreaking personal experience. Harriet Owen, machine learning engineer, was a caseworker for 10 years. Dr Greg Scott, advisor, is a leader in transdiagnostic triaging approaches.

A founder quote

“A society's humanity is measured by how it cares for its most vulnerable: children, the ill and the aged. We're fortunate to be using AI for this great purpose.” - Andy Bell

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