Hello and welcome to our Rochdale update, if you haven’t already, you can read all about the project in our first sprint notes post. 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 begun testing early prototypes internally with members of staff from services across the council. We kicked off two more prototype areas, and are preparing to begin testing with front line staff and residents.

What’s the project?

We’re prototyping new parts of the Homelessness and housing allocations service in five areas;

  • Friday night crisis: better solutions and a joined-up approach to ‘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
  • multi-disciplinary working: testing the value of adding a ‘housing expert’ in a multidisciplinary team
  • strengths-based working and evolving the PHP: strengths and asset-based approach and a new approach to using the Personal Housing Plan (PHP)

What have we done so far?

Friday night crisis

  • iterated our crisis guide and process map following the show and tell.
  • Hannah (Housing Project Officer (Homelessness) in Rochdale Borough Council) revised the content for the vulnerability and risk assessment
  • set up a prototype to test the crisis multi-disciplinary team, process and guide/assessment
  • by role-playing two scenarios, we were able to focus our attention on the prototypes and we gained good insights
  • started to see how the other prototypes overlap, seeing the importance of strengths-based interviews first hand by shadowing one of the other prototype teams
  • gained more confidence in our process from the core team and services involved
  • after synthesising our findings together, we were able to understand how to iterate the prototype again for further testing
Testing the crisis process in our show and tell

Tenancy sustainment

  • in the next few weeks, we’ll be shadowing staff and testing some ideas that have emerged from our workshops within homelessness assessments and new tenant visits
  • we’re exploring how existing staff involved at the beginning of the tenancy can anticipate potential barriers to tenancy sustainment that may not emerge in the current format of the conversation
  • for tenants, we’re exploring how we could provide support outside of the tenancy contract. The prototyping team describe the role or team as someone who advocates for the individual and performs a ‘community navigator’ style role, connecting the individual to the relevant services they need
Testing the risk factor framework from early intervention with a tenancy sustainment lens

Early intervention

  • we ran a minimum viable data workshop where we refined our criteria of risk factors and categorised these into high, medium and low indicators that someone may be at risk of homelessness. We then captured the minimum amount of data we would need for each of these risk factors to show up, and where that data would most likely come from
  • we’ve been testing the risk factor framework on some old cases to see if it would have been possible to identify any of these people through this method. We’ll continue testing and refining the framework
  • we spent time capturing concerns and fears around data sharing from different team members. We sat down with Maria Tickle, Rochdale’s GDPR guru to understand how we might overcome some of these fears with the right legislation if we’re to take this prototype forward
  • we came together to brainstorm different ways we could intervene with people after we’ve identified them as being at risk of homelessness
  • we ran a creative ideation session to think outside the box and design some intervention concepts to reach individuals as well as neighbourhoods with a high number of people at risk
  • a few early concepts included: ‘a live campaign with people with lived experience’, ‘putting signposting information on the back of toilet doors’ and ‘training GPs, bartenders and shop keepers to signpost people to services and advice’.
  • we’ll be starting to test some of these ideas with residents to understand how effective different types of interventions might be
Concepts from the ideation session

Multi-disciplinary working (NEW!)

  • we’ve begun reflecting on different experiences of multi-disciplinary working in the council. We’re exploring how someone with housing expertise could fit into existing multi-disciplinary teams to improve outcomes for service users and staff
  • during our ‘as is’ workshop last week we spoke about a live case. The conversation raised some questions and demonstrated how different teams currently work together in the council
  • we discussed the culture of passing on problems to other teams, referring to another team as ‘they’ rather than thinking about ‘we’
  • at this stage, we’ve been focusing on the existing integrated neighbourhood teams made up of Adult Social Care with Health, and plan to attend their daily huddles to understand the value of a housing officer in conversations to improve outcomes for service users
Mapping the as-is with members of existing multi-disciplinary teams

Strengths-based working & evolving the PHP (NEW!)

  • we’re working with multiple teams and partners, including homelessness officers, adult social care and Petrus to look at how we can apply a strengths-based approach to homelessness assessments and personal housing plan (PHP) conversations
  • we’ve been thinking about the strengths and opportunities for our target cohorts, looking at the current PHP set up and how well this tool supports our service users. We’ve also been mapping out the as-is journey to understand how the current assessments process works and what the pain points or frustrations for staff and service users are
  • we looked at what the ideal future or ‘to-be’ process for assessments and PHPs might be. We discussed what the opportunities are to improve this for staff and service users and how can we better use the PHP as a strengths-based tool
Early ideas for a new strengths-based personal housing plan

Team development/organising model

  • mentoring is underway to support the management layer within the service in making the most of the design-led approach to transformation being employed across the prototypes
  • senior folk from FutureGov are pairing up with managers and holding fortnightly coaching calls
  • we’re starting to uncover pain points from the wider service team, and used a team session to begin turning these into opportunities to experiment with new ways of working
  • we’ll be taking the best of the approach the team have been experiencing within the prototypes, and applying this to pressing day-to-day activities
  • to support the development of a business case for the future shape of the service, the team have been pulling together a data request. The data will help to paint a compelling picture of what the shape of the service may look like, and help to devise a model that incorporates all of the learning from the prototype work
Sprint prototyping workshop

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