Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) developed a shared digital provision of information, advice and guidance on all services for adults available across Buckinghamshire to try and help citizens understand and access support. However, the council found that the platform actually led to an increase in general enquiries, particularly for services not provided by the council. This increase in demand showed the council that the platform was not meeting the needs of citizens.
BCC needed to redesign their digital front door for Adult Social Services to provide better access to accurate information that would support citizens to find the services they need, while also reducing demand on council staff. The council invited FutureGov to improve access to quality information and advice for their residents.
The vision for BCC was to redesign the digital front door for Adult Services to deliver the best possible content and public services. But we defined that down even further to designing a set of digital products and projects across the health and social care portfolio for adult services that would connect people to health and social care provision that is user-centred, focusing on meeting the needs of both residents and professionals by providing the information, advice and guidance that will help people find and access the right care and support. So that:
- more people use the website as a front door and are supported to maintain independence
- there’s reduced demand for formal support from the council
- we focus on developing content and services that meet citizen needs
- we increase resident and professional support online
Together, we wanted to create a solution that met the needs of citizens, understanding that their needs would shape the design, content, features and technology behind the project.
We used a hypothesis-led method, drawing on our previous knowledge of Adult Services and Adult Social Care, to shape the focus of the research. The advantage of this approach is that it can save time, as the initial discovery can be focused to prove or disprove hypothesis rather than as a broad opportunity to learn the issues.
As every place has it’s own unique needs, we ran a workshop with stakeholders to review our hypotheses and agree which ones were most relevant to Buckinghamshire and what may be missing, grouped into the themes of ease of accessing information, understanding the available support and entitlements for citizens.