13 February 2020

We’ve been working with Hackney Council and MadeTech, collaboratively redesigning their Benefits and Housing Needs. We’re inviting you to follow our work through shared sprint notes as we design a service which is easily understood, fair, accessible and beneficial to Hackney residents. These sprint notes were first published by Hackney. You can follow our process on HackIT, and the other great work happening at Hackney Council.

January 2020 for the redesign project has been anything but “dry”, with lots of progress being made.

Here’s what’s happening around the service:

Understanding vulnerability, capability and assets

Colleagues from Public Health, Adult’s and Children’s Social Care joined us to discuss how we might start to determine which customers take which route on our service vision tube map. This involved identifying what we considered an asset and a vulnerability.

I personally found it easier to decide on the top 3 assets rather than the top 3 vulnerabilities. A prominent factor in these discussions was a customer’s level of resilience and why this may vary.

Benefits and housing needs service vision

We’re now looking at what we can create to help these conversations and ways of working happen effectively across the council and service. You’ll be able to read all about it in our next update…

Single view

44 users have now been onboarded and the feedback is coming in fast. The team have been working on ‘tech debt’*. Essentially, they’ve been making sure the tool is stable and able to use no matter what happens, making it a more sustainable and efficient product in the long run.

The team also went to a Hackney Service Standard Assessment, where the product is tested against a number of GDS principles. It was a great session, with learnings happening on both sides of the table, and you can read about it in Soraya’s weeknotes.

Over the next two weeks watch this space for Comino documents coming to single view soon.

Collaborative working

We’re trialling the use of prompt questions to help hospital staff identify patients who are in need of help with their housing situation.

Identifying at risk patients

Arto Maatta and Tony McDonald spoke about the new process to identify patients who need assistance earlier, thus smoothing the hospital discharge process. With Tony now being able to triage cases, upload documents and educate Homerton Hospital staff on homelessness prevention.

Benefits & Housing Needs staff deal with customers who have experienced trauma on a daily basis, and this has an impact on them. Sabrina Pathan announced the ‘Peer Practice Group’ an opportunity for service staff to:

  • talk about new ideas to support and improve the service
  • highlight problem areas in a safe space with peers
  • get support from colleagues with complex cases by pooling skills

So much good work is happening, and I can’t wait to see what else is coming soon.

Information & evidence

We’re making good progress with our testing on the information & evidence tool. Testing with the Housing Management Neighbourhoods Team and Settled Homes Team to try and find out if the tool could change resident’s attitudes on their housing expectations, and see whether they would like the tool to be online and to access other housing options.

Housing register resident survey

So far, it is. Results are above, and we’re looking to continue testing in this way to find out more, and where the tool will be most useful for service staff and residents.

In the next two weeks, we’ll be showcasing the tool for hackney councillors and customer services. If you’d like to find more about this work you can email Chris Caden.

* Technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt, but can also relate to other technical endeavours) is a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

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