Next week we’re launching Welfare Calls from the Coronavirus Support (3111) helpline. These are outbound calls to residents who need to self-isolate, where call centre advisors will check in with residents, understand if they face any challenges because of self-isolation and signpost them to support services if necessary (which could be support accessing food, income support, befriending services)
We established the number of outbound Welfare Calls that call agents would make in the initial week (around 50)
Jun finalised the guidance script for call agents based on test calls and feedback from Public Health (thanks!)
Annalivia and Suki from customer services are signed up and briefed to deliver all welfare calls next week
We confirmed the process of handling the data we’d receive from the National Tracing Centre and how we would bulk upload it each day onto the I Need Help tool – with help from Selwyn Preston in HackIT.
It’s been tricky to organise data measures on the delivery of Welfare Calls, either through the I Need Help tool or the customer service software Puzzel. In the end we decided that automated data collection would be too difficult for the moment, and as numbers are relatively small we will manually collect information on – no. of calls made, no. of calls per resident, no of residents that we couldn’t reach. We will also be asking call agents to complete a short google survey after every call to capture 1) the number of contacted residents who asked for additional support; 2) the type of support that was discussed; 3) and report whether they think the resident found the call useful or not
Jun was able to be a fly on the wall for the Public Health team’s scenario exercise where different stakeholders came together to identify lessons that can be used to inform the Local Outbreak Control Plan. A lot of great ideas came out of the exercise, so we plan to put together a visual checklist for participants that participants can easily refer back to when responding to an outbreak in real time. Extensive behavioural science research has shown that checklists improve teamwork and communication during a crisis or high-pressure situation. You can read more about the power of checklists in Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto.
It’s the last week of the City of London’s social media campaign where we are testing which behaviourally-informed message has the highest engagement. It looks like the winner might be messages that promote prosocial behaviour (emphasising how your actions benefit others around you), but we’re eagerly waiting to find out!
What’s gone well?
It’s great that we’re continuing to get positive feedback on the Snapshot tool. Although the Coronavirus Front Door project is on pause at the moment (final weeknote here), we presented the Snapshot tool at Tuesday’s Making Every Contact Count (MECC) Steering Group and there was a lot of interest from partners at Homerton Hospital and the wider health system to use the tool in their organisations – it seems that both the tool’s resource finder and conversational prompts could be valuable tools for a whole range of partners within the Borough and can help the Council to deliver the MECC programme. We closed off the week by running a workshop with colleagues in the Council as well as partner organisations like East London Foundation, Shoreditch Trust and Citizens Advice Bureau. We used this session to get input from partners about improving the content of the conversational prompts, each participant agreed to consult their service areas and suggest improvements and we will add this new content to the tool next week
Star of the team?
Tim Jones in Customer Services has been really supportive this week in helping us to sort the logistics of delivering Welfare Calls and for providing key info on the feasibility of collecting data on the 3111 helpline from the existing software.
What are we focusing on next week?
Launching the Welfare Calls and getting early insight from the initial calls that Annalivia and Suki will be making
Designing letters using Behavioural Insights with the Waste Management team to encourage residents to reduce waste
Joining the Behaviour Change Leads Network meeting to connect with other behavioural scientists working in Local Authorities and explore if there are areas of collaboration
What we’ve been reading COVID-19 Local Response Initiative by Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership. It’s a great compendium with leadership essentials that can be directly applied to the Council’s work on crisis management.
I’m a few days late with getting this out but here it is!
Sadly, this is the last Coronavirus Front Door project weeknote (for now at least…) which means we’ve said goodbye to Andy, Kyle, Maysa and Siobhan. It’s been great working with them and to see all the great work they’ve done over the past couple of months and I’ve learnt loads from them!
What did we do?
Our focus was on improving conversational prompts, both by acting on research and by releasing new features. Sam conducted research to get feedback on the new conversational prompts and outlined next areas to research (nicely captured on this User Research Knowledge board). One area we are interested in understanding better is the customer experience of contacting the helpline and this is something we’d be interested in finding more about when we develop the Front Door further.
Andy, Kyle and Maysa continually iterated the conversational prompts feature throughout the week and we now believe it can add significant value for call agents when they’re speaking with residents. Agents can type in ‘housing’ or ‘coronavirus’ and see prompts which we believe will support them to have strengths-based conversations when talking to residents.
The tool now has
Prompts for over 100 topics
Auto-complete search function to make it easier for users
A drop down option in the search function to also make it easier for users to quickly find a topic
We want your help to improve our initial conversational prompts! It is super easy to iterate and add prompts to the tool – via our database stored on Airtable. We will be asking for input from professionals across the council to improve our first drafts. If you’d like to input into our prompts then email me on – firstname.lastname@example.org
As this phase ends, we’re really pleased that agents now have tools which enable them to record resident information, prompt them to have strengths-based conversations, highlight resident needs and easily find appropriate services in the community.
Final show and tell
The slides from our final show and tell of the phase can be here. Thanks to those who attended – apologies for the technical/audio difficulties at the end!
Our product lead Siobhan did excellent work to set out future areas of work to develop the tool. Over the coming weeks we’ll need to plan what the priority functionality for developing the tool – both to understand how it can be continue to be improved to support call agents on the helpline and to understand how the tool can be used by other services
We will also need to plan how to align our tool with Find Support Services to ensure that we are pulling data from their API once it is set up
Welfare calls – it’s been great to have the support of Annalivia in Customer Services to make 8 test welfare calls to residents who need to self-isolate. We’ve taken the learning from those initial calls to improve our approach ahead of the full rollout of welfare calls to residents next Monday (21st September)
We completed this phase of the Coronavirus Front Project with a final show and tell showcasing our latest research as well as the newest features to the Snapshot tool.
Sam conducted research to get feedback on the new conversational prompts and outlined next areas to research – at present, we haven’t really researched the customer experience of using the helpline, and this is potentially something we look into over the coming weeks
Speaking of conversational prompts, Andy, Kyle and Maysa continually iterated this aspect of Snapshot throughout the week and we now think it’s in a position to add significant value for call agents when they’re speaking with residents.
As this phase ends, agents now have tools which enable them to record resident information, prompt them to have strengths-based conversations, highlight resident needs and easily finding appropriate services in the community.
Also, the prompts are stored in an application called Airtable and are organised by tag. As Airtable is easy to update it means that we can continally change the existing prompts and add new ones, making the tool incredibly flexible and easy to adapt to the needs of the current users, as well as future users too (if the tool is adapted for use by other council services)
Although this project has been tough at times it’s been great to work with talented people from across Customer Services, HackIT, Futuregov and Madetech and to deliver value for advisors on the Coronavirus Helpline
We’ve made progress on creating prompts for our upcoming welfare calls. We’re looking forward to integrating this with the new conversation prompt tool that the team is developing.
Kings Park Moving Together
We have now finalised the report on this project with our partners at Autonomy, proposing a range of changes to public space to encourage active lifestyles in Kings Park ward. The report looks great – we’ll share once it’s gone to the project oversight board next week.
What’s gone well?
It’s been a really nice week for sharing and learning from our partners at other councils. In thinking about how we evolve the 3111 Coronavirus helpline we’ve spoken to colleagues at Haringey, Islington and Camden in the last two weeks – amazing how helpful it is.
We’ve been able to create more opportunities to come together as a team (even though we are still remote). We had our first afternoon working session, and are also working on our first team project where we all have a part to play in supporting the welfare calls.
What’s been challenging?
We have a great plan to share the KPMT report with the oversight board by taking them on a walking tour of the ward next week, so we could look at concrete (literally at points) examples of where we could make the changes. Unfortunately the new coronavirus restrictions mean we’re… back to Google Meet.
Star of the team?
Andy (FutureGov) Kyle and Maysa (MadeTech) were joint winners for delivering so much value in the last few days of the coronavirus front door project
What are we focusing on next week?
From 21st September, the Coronavirus Support helpline will be making outbound welfare calls to residents who need to self-isolate including helping them to make a plan for how to manage in self-isolation. Before the 21st launch we need to ensure that we further test and get feedback on the call script; brief 3111 agents on the format of these calls; and plan reliably track performance data on the calls.
We have a good opportunity next week to showcase the Snapshot tool to colleagues across the health and care system. We’ll be presenting Snapshot at the MECC Steering Group on Tuesday
What we’ve been reading
Reimagining Help guide that applies insights from the field of behaviour change research to help people reach their goals in a way that feels right for them.
Bit of a stretch to claim any of us has read it, but I went to the launch zoom of this report Welfare 5.0 by Hillary Cottam which was fascinating
With lots of annual leave taken on Friday this was a shorter week than usual for the team and we had a lot to cram in…
We started off by planning which conversational prompts design we should prioritise to develop and release for the next iteration of the Snapshot tool. Based on Andy’s survey research with officers right across the council (thanks for your feedback if you completed the form!) we decided to prioritise the clear favourite – Design #2 (conversational prompts based on keyword searches).
Design #2 received very positive feedback in terms of both its view and usefulness. We think this will enable call agents to have the best MECC-based conversation out of the 3 designs, if this hypothesis is validated the tool could also have benefits for wider teams across the Council.
Joy and Sam conducted a series of observational sessions with contact agents to understand their approach to taking calls, and their current challenges when delivering the service. This research was valuable both to help us understand how agents might use the conversational prompts designs that we will release and also to surface wider challenges that the surface faces.
One of which is the challenge of having quality information on internal services and the support they can provide residents. We’ve made slow but useful progress this week in getting points-of-contact from ASC, Benefits, Childrens, Council Tax, Housing Advice, and Resident Sustainment to suppor the Helpline and thanks to colleagues for their support in agreeing these.
This week one of our developers left our project team and an immediate challenge for us was to reprioritise our work to deliver the highest priority items in the remaining time (the current phase finishes on 11th September).
Although this is a tricky challenge to estimate what we can achieve, it’s been made much more manageable by Kyle and Maysa generously rearranging their annual leave in September to ensure that there’s dev capacity to release the next functionality.
At the moment our current priority is to release Design #2 of the conversational prompts and to test with contact centre agents.
From next week, Annalivia who works on the Helpline will also be trialling making proactive welfare calls to 2 residents who have come into contact with someone who has Covid-19. This is a new opportunity for the Helpline to adapt its service offer and support residents who need to isolate for 14 days. Annalivia will be completing these callbacks based on guidance provided by the Change Support Team’s Behaviorial Scientist, Jun, and additional guidance from colleagues in Public Health.
Where possible we would also like to add additional functionality to the tool in the following areas:
Schedule callbacks by date
At the moment, advisors can only see when a callback is ‘requested’ – being the date when the resident first made contact
We propose updating the tool so that advisors see when a callback needs to be made by (e.g. ‘Callback needed by 21/09/20’)
This is important to make the callback process more efficient, including prioritising the list of callbacks
Make it easy to share information with residents after a call has finished
This could be in printed form, or, preferably, via text or email
Joined the launch of Harvard University’s pilot program that advises behavioural design teams within governments
Grateful (and shocked!) to find out that we were selected to be mentored by Professor Cass Sunstein, one of the most influential and leading scholars on behavioural economics and public policy
What’s gone well?
Important work in progressing how we partner with Public Health to support the Council’s response to Coronavirus
Feedback from stakeholders on Snapshot tool + conversational prompts has been positive and we think it could add real value to multiple service areas
Good intro calls with the Waste Management team
What’s been challenging?
Understanding the roles and responsibilities of different council services. In trying to get points-of-contact for Helpline staff it has been tricky to define what support some internal services can offer to residents and also to know where their service ‘offer’ ends and another service starts
Star of the team?
Annalivia Ryan on the Coronavirus Support helpline has been great this week in working calling back local residents who have told us they need help and for helping us trial out ‘welfare calls’ to residents who need to self-isolate.
What are we focusing on next week?
Start work to summarise work on Coronavirus Front Door before the current phase ends on 11th September
Revisit work with the Cross Directorate Hoarding Steering Group to support their efforts in improving the customer experience of residents with hoarding disorder