Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 17/12/21

Last programme week note for 2021. It’s been a heck of a year – final updates for now from our workstreams.

Finance – Silvia – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Data Migration Plan – A draft of the migration plan has been submitted to stakeholders for review.  This is to ensure that everyone is aware of the plan and has an opportunity to see if it impacts their service in any way.
    • Delay to PEN Testing start due to Google Auth implementation.
  • Challenges:
    • Pen testing will now take place from Monday 20th December 2021
    • Data Migration will take place when we return from the Christmas break.
    • Now the MVP work is complete and in the Staging environment, the team will focus on the Leaseholder Calculation development work next week.
    • Support tasks/data cleanup will continue with Interim Finance.

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • We’ve had good conversations with the DES team and got a solution to test
    • Started to integrate with the Data Platform
  • Challenges:
    • Very small team
    • Trying to keep all the plates spinning on my own

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Automated overtime jobs.  Operatives via mobile and managers via Repairs Hub can now select a monetary value instead of SMV’s towards their bonus, removing the need for paperwork being submitted for manager approval.
    • Closing the first 5 weeks in the bonus app, emailing reports to operatives and managers
    • The changes implemented to the sync with DRS seem to have worked extremely well. The few jobs missing this week upon first check were related to how the planners had booked them in through DRS and were quickly resolved 
  • Challenges:
    • The managers in the DLO are under alot of pressure to ensure data is correct in the bonus app, and it’s not going to be 100% for various reasons (paper jobs still sitting on desks, time to manually enter jobs not raised on RH, SMV issues, operative split bug still pending).  

It’s the end of 2021 and, while our teams have delivered fantastic work over the last year, it’s fair to say that, for all the obvious reasons, we’re all exhausted. HackIT has very sensibly decided to have a firebreak from the end of this week until the end of the first week of Jan. This means that folks who won’t be away on very well deserved breaks can spend some time getting to all of the things that they’ve had to put off for some time due to there always being something of higher priority happening.

2021 has, in large part, been a very reactive year. We’ve all been dealing with the issues raised by covid but, in this programme, the major drivers have been related to the October 2020 cyber attack. Replacing Universal Housing and the interim systems and myriad google sheets created to support our staff following the attack has been our major priority. In 2022 it’s my hope that the strong foundations that we’re continuing to put in place will mean that we will be able to move our focus on from that to a new “north star” of what we want our new combined set of services to provide – well beyond what used to be possible with our previous systems.

A major part of how we will achieve that is the move to product teams as part of HackIT 3.0. We’re all very much looking forward to continuing that discussion in the new year.

Another huge part will be the move to our newly selected partner vendor for our work going forward. We’re sad to be losing Amido who have rolled off the programme but are pleased to welcome TPXImpact / Nudge to be taking over Manage My Home in January. We’ll be having lots of discussions about potential new programme level roles and how we move from where we are now to  self-sustaining, fully funded product teams.

For me the firebreak is an opportunity to write a “State of the MTFH nation” document which will, hopefully briefly, give a clear picture of where we are as a programme and the many things we need to work out how to prioritise in 2022.

I wish everyone an excellent festive season. Take the opportunity to relax and recharge – we all need it – and let’s come back refreshed and renewed in 2022.

Update About Find Support Services

Having worked at a lightening speed to build the directory at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 (*shudder*), Find Support Services is now a living, breathing, functioning tool that provides residents a simple way to find local support in and around Hackney and City of London. After just over 18 months since its conception, the Find Support Services map is in full swing! Between October and September, we’ve seen a 28% increase in unique page views, and a 30% increase in users. Although we’re pleased to see such positive statistics, our focus will be on improving bounce rate and average session duration over the coming months, indicating that users are engaging with the site and finding the support they need. 

What is Find Support Services? 

FSS is a digital directory, housing all of the local support available to residents in Hackney and City of London. These services are displayed on a handy dandy map, to show users how far away they are from each service. Each listing is maintained by the individual service provider, which contributes to confidence in the reliability of the listings, whilst allowing an element of self-maintenance. Available services span lots of different things, from food banks and deliveries, to loneliness and isolation, and mental health support. 

Updates from the last 6 months:

  • We have just passed 200 organisations signing up to appear on the map across the two boroughs (hooray!)
  • New functionality has been added, including a ‘remote’ option for organisations to select and users to filter by 
  • Actively encouraging residents to use the tool, and engaging internal usage across social prescribers and frontline workers, so that FSS can act as the ultimate digital  crib sheet
  • Undertaking user research to ensure that we’re optimising the site – answering two main questions: 1) can we make FSS easier to use for residents and participating organisations? 2) Are we engaging users as effectively as possible?

What’s on the agenda for the next 6 months:

  • We’re working on an automatic reminder process for organisations to be notified when listing information should be checked and/or updated. This will ensure that the directory stays up to date, and therefore useful to residents looking for support
  • Re-evaluating  criteria for organisations to list their services – this includes expanding out to statutory services like housing and social care, as well as broadening the catchment area for local organisations, expanding into boroughs like Tower Hamlets and Islington 
  • Following this, we will also be working with our North East London council neighbours to see what we can do to learn from each other, focussing on data quality and supporting residents who live closer to boundary lines
  • Ramping up our social media presence to combat lack of awareness of FSS. Research shows that Instagram and Facebook are among the most used platforms in Hackney, so it’s time to put our ‘influencer’ hats on!
  • Finalising a more robust analytics process to understand the behaviours and journeys of our users around the site and beyond

Fancy getting involved and helping us improve the tool? We’re always looking for new voluntary and statutory services to join the FSS network, and for as much feedback as we can get! If you have any recommendations, feedback, or want to get involved in some user research, get in touch with us via