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.

This sprint has seen the resurrection of the “power-hour” to help power along with all the “things”. Here’s an update on what’s happened so far in March.

Understanding vulnerability and shared plan

Understanding vulnerability is vital to determining what route a citizen initially takes through the Benefits and Housing Needs service. So, we’ve started to develop the initial paper tool into a digital prototype that has taken centre stage this sprint.

Testing with the benefits teams:

  1. Spotting red flags: Employment and Support Allowance ending, non-engagement
  2. Understanding the context: building a bigger picture of the situation (phoning and looking at their notes in Single View)
  3. Document vulnerabilities: using the prototype, free text and checklist with prompt options
  4. Building a shared plan: work with the resident to create a shared plan (actions for both service staff and residents)
  5. Share the plan: with the resident using the SMS tool to support them in taking action to prevent homelessness
Prototype for helping staff spot vulnerabilities with residents

Next time we’ll be explaining how the tool has developed to potentially incorporate multiple council officers feeding into a single shared plan, and a read-only view for residents.

Single view of a customer

This continues its take over of the service with 83 users now onboard. Over the last two weeks, they’ve also been looking at the user interface, making sure it’s accessible for all users. The team will start to test these new iterations over the next sprint.

Tech Development is ongoing and includes:

  • new designs for the users viewing pleasure
  • an improved timeline and search facility(!) to prevent a user from having to scroll through everything

For more details, see Soraya’s week notes.

Information and evidence:

The waiting time tool is now embedded in several everyday processes within the service, including responses to complaints and member enquiries. The Mayor’s office has also had a demo and the next step is to embed the tool in their processes.

The tool will also be utilised to inform Hackney Community and Voluntary Services about the message that we’re sending to our customers.

Resident property survey

Development of the copy on the new website pages is continuing to help deliver a realistic and supportive message about housing solutions. To ensure customers are receiving the right information, testing with residents is underway.

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