Formal and Informal Referrals
Formal referral denotes an agreed referral procedure between agencies. At national level, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and NCGE promote and develop referral protocols between adult guidance and other agencies. At local level, professional judgment, experience and good practice will normally inform your choice of referral. It is good practice that all formal referrals are recorded. Informal referrals should also normally be recorded.
Advantages of Formal Referrals:-
Formal referrals provide more opportunities for guidance counsellors to advocate on behalf of their clients, for example when they are seeking financial assistance;
Formal referrals are based upon the clearly identified and specific needs of the client;
Referrals are accurately recorded so that client progress and outcomes are easy to track;
Referral makes for greater continuity in the guidance counselling process,
Advantages of Informal Referrals:-
Informal referrals may enable the client to take more responsibility for their choices and decisions. An informal referral may just provide minimum details and the client will advocate on their own behalf;
Clients may be able to access services more quickly by using informal channels;
Client sets agenda
The client is able to take responsibility for setting the agenda in terms of timescales and follow up;
Informal referrals can help to reinforce the strength of existing networks and can create opportunities for developing new ones.
It is important that there is appropriate balance between formal and informal referrals. Professional judgment, experience and good practice will normally inform your choice of referral.