27 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.

As the romance of Valentine’s day fades we’d like to share the love by updating you on the great things happening with the service redesign project in Hackney.

Understanding Vulnerability + Shared Plan

The basic idea: spot red flags > understand context > build a shared plan

We know that our staff are aware of a lot of events in customer’s lives. So the focus has been on how we utilise these triggers to understand a customer’s vulnerability.

We’ve been testing a tool with four officers from the Benefits teams, to help us understand what ‘trigger events’ happen. For example, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) ending which contributes to a customer’s vulnerability, then identifying the best ways the service can support them.

Social services wheel

What did we learn?

  • officers have a good sense if the resident they’re working with is vulnerable
  • there are cultural and practical barriers (e.g. targets) that currently limit the amount of additional support officers can provide
  • the paper prototype is a useful prompt and way into working

We’ve also been investigating how we can use tools like this and give officers the time, space and permission to give the best possible support to residents.

Next, we’re starting to think about how the tool develops into a working prototype that supports staff and fits with current processes. As well as, how we start creating a shared plan that helps a customer with their vulnerability by utilising their strengths.

Single View

This seems a timely point to highlight the importance of people within the service being able to easily spot the excellent work that’s happening around understanding vulnerability. Naturally, the best place for this is the Single View, so watch this space.

The latest teams to join the Single View crew are Housing Register and Settled Homes. To make the day-to-day user experience more effective we have been squashing all the bugs. As well as making sure our feedback loop is to a high standard so we know what to do first.

Enter stage left, A new starring role in the Single View… Comino documents. This means more documents are easily accessible in one place. Moving forward, we’ll be identifying where we can have the most value and putting measures against this.

For a more in-depth look of the Single View, follow Soraya’s sprint notes.

Information + Evidence:

Another super busy two weeks, especially with Chris Caden pushing the energy through and getting stuff done. Last week we shared an insightful graph that shows changing expectations around wait times for social housing.

We’ve updated this with some more data and we can clearly see the work having solid results.

Housing register resident survey data

Chris has also been running a number of website content drop-in sessions, specifically around:

  • ‘joining the housing register’ page (50,000 views a year)
  • ‘housing options and advice’ page (33,000 views a year)

We wanted to learn how we can improve these pages to better set housing expectations and improve the way we promote alternatives in the private rented sector.

Feedback included: ‘It’s too long, we don’t want to be reading War and Peace.’, ‘This page doesn’t include any information on other housing options.’ and ‘We need to give the facts about the waiting times.’

In response, the team has already started to prioritise a design for a whole new website by looking at:

  • title change
  • how to set expectations early, explaining the poor likelihood of receiving a property from the register
  • including wait times by bed size and band
  • condensing the content into a shorter space
  • promoting alternative housing solutions

Another exciting piece of news is that we’re starting to embed the waiting time's tool with the Mayor’s Office. Email Chris Caden if you want to find out more.

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