Welcome to the first in a series of Rochdale sprint notes. Sprint notes are a short recap of what we’ve been doing, learning and what we’re going to be doing next.


Too long; didn’t read — a short summary for busy people

We’ve been mapping the as-is and to-be journeys for our shortlisted prototypes with service staff. We’re finding out if our opportunities are viable, feasible and desirable. In the coming weeks, we’ll be designing concepts which can be tested with staff and residents.

Agile working definitions

“Sprint” a period of time (we’re using three weeks) to plan and organise work.
“Sprint Goal” the goal agreed by team members.
“As-is” the existing processes/customer journey.
“To-be” the ideal future state of processes/customer journey.
“Assumption” something that’s accepted as true without proof.

What’s the project?

Last year we worked with Rochdale Borough Council, running a 3-month discovery into their homelessness and housing allocations services. We’re now testing key risks and assumptions with a 4-month programme of prototyping to refine the model and operating structures, ways of working and governance to support this approach. We’ve shortlisted 5 prototypes, and are currently working on 3.

  • Friday night crisis: better solutions and a joined-up approach to cases that due to various factors result in ‘Friday night’ crisis cases where a person needs to be placed in temporary accommodation over the weekend.
  • tenancy sustainment: a dedicated officer that works closely with people to sustain their tenancy
  • early intervention: a new process or team that uses data to identify people at risk of becoming homeless and offers proactive support

Each prototype will follow a similar model for testing:

Prototyping process model

In addition to prototyping, we’ve also been working on a team development/organising model. To support the conditions for success post-prototyping, we’ve been working to define an organising model for the service.

What have we done so far?

Friday night crisis

  • working with a mixed team from different services and providers to understand how people are working to resolve crisis situations
  • looking at ways to collaborate better across services, how we might develop a shared understanding of different situations and how we might resolve crisis cases more efficiently within a 72 hour period
  • looking at how we might develop a multidisciplinary response team that share principles, knowledge and responsibilities to resolve future cases
  • we’re thinking about how to create holistic assessments, discuss different accommodation placements and how we can use the information to help set up long term arrangements

Tenancy sustainment

  • we’re working with a blended team across Rochdale Council, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), private sector and other service providers to understand the current experience and challenges involved with tenancy sustainment for customers and staff
  • through the lens of some example profiles of people accessing these services, we learnt that there are pockets of in-tenancy support, in the first few weeks and in crisis. There are opportunities to support new tenants earlier in their housing journey during their housing application process and throughout their tenancy,
  • we’re exploring how dedicated and tailored support can help users maintain their tenancies and result in better outcomes. We’re focussing on the key stages of preparing to start a tenancy, starting a tenancy and being at risk of losing a tenancy
  • independence, advocacy and flexibility are qualities of this role that are emerging through this process, working towards an output of recommended best practice, a job description for a tenancy sustainment officer and an exploration of the potential for mainstreaming with housing providers
The as-is journey for ‘tenancy sustainment’

Early intervention

  • we’re working with a blended team of internal and external partners to understand how we might use data to spot people at risk of homelessness early on and provide them with targeted support
  • our kick-off workshop included members from housing, social care, health, revenues & benefits, DWP, and Sanctuary Trust to start thinking about who our target cohorts for early intervention might be and how we can use data to spot them
  • we began mapping all of the services that people at risk of homelessness may interact with, and what data these services may hold about individuals and families
  • we’ve come up with a criteria of ‘risk factors’, or different indicators that people may be in need of support to prevent homelessness
  • we’ll be looking to understand what’s possible with the data that exists, what are some of the barriers and challenges to sharing and using data and how might we work within, or overcome these constraints
Using personas to begin mapping data for ‘early intervention’

Team development/organising model

  • over the last sprint, the team have worked through a number of iterations to refine the draft model. This attempts to illustrate how the structure of the team might shift over time, to better meet the needs of our citizens as we change our delivery approach. Think of it as the thing that underpins the connected services model, the formation that drives the tactics
  • what’s an organising model? Whenever we embark on an effort to change the way we deliver a service (like the connected services model), we also need to think about the way we organise our teams to make the best use of the capabilities we have
Early sketches of the organising model

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