Implementing a Council Wide Casework Management System – 10th January 2020 Weeknote

Welcome to the new decade! The Y2K bug is making a comeback so I’m going to keep the theme of this weeknote distinctly 00’s.

Now that's what I call 00's album cover

We were stoked* to have Civica with us for 2 days. They ran workshops for colleagues across the council who will use iCasework to manage enquiries and complaints. Civica had the unenviable task of finding ways to meet all service needs which were all slightly different. I’d like to thank the teams (Adults, Childrens, Housing, Housing Needs, Corporate complaints, Mayors office and App support) for being engaged throughout both days before they bounced*.

The workshops got us 80% of the way there, and Civica now have a long list of tweaks they need to make, but we still have a couple of large puzzle pieces to work out:

  1. Approvals

Because of the way responses to complaints and enquiries can be drafted by multiple services before being sent to the overall ‘owner’ of the enquiry, we need to be able to manage and track approvals at both individual service and overall case level. This is something iCasework doesn’t typically support but that Hackney really needs. Civica are busy looking into a bit of bling* so that we can do this.

2. Google Calendar Integration

iCasework has a calendar feature that lets you see the due dates of tasks and cases plotted on a calendar. We need this to work with Google Calendar so that our staff can see what’s due for what case without having to use the calendar feature inside iCasework. This is especially important for users who may not use iCasework as part of their day to day work but on a less frequent basis. Civica are going to work on getting this implemented for us. They seem pretty chillax* about it.

Hackney have a lot of work to do too. We have decisions to make and documentation to prepare for almost every case type; They’re keeping us on our toes.

Next week is our final workshop focusing on Freedom of Information (FOI) and Subject Access Requests (SARs). Hopefully, once this is complete, we’ll be able to start thinking about and planning UAT.

That’s all for this week! Peace out*!

* Hope you enjoyed the 00’s phrases

Implementing a Council Wide Casework Management System – 20th December 2019 Weeknote

It has been a very busy week.

First of all, congratulations to the team for managing to get the information Civica requested over to them exactly on time. Great effort to pull all that together from so many different services (Adulst Social Care, Childrens Social Care, Mayors Office, Corporate complaints and Information management and communication). Thank you for your dedication and here’s hoping the collaboration continues!

That’s right,. Just like an oiled machine!

We had our overview workshop on Wednesday where three of the team from Civica joined us at Hackney to whistle stop through iCasework. The workshop was incredibly helpful (we appreciate the patience and focus the team had with us). We were left utterly drained; It was a lot of information all in one go.

We realised quite quickly in the workshop that we hadn’t really hit the nail on the head with our afore mentioned information prep. What we’d provided didn’t really fit in the structure of the software so we’ve got to revisit our business structure. That’s a strong learning point for us, and our partners, that just a short demo prior to preparing the documentation would have resulted in a much better quality specification from us and therefore less questions and rework for them. We’ll be making sure that we take this forward and learn from it through the rest of the project.

Up next is the Christmas break but…there’s still 2 business days before then! We have a clarifying call with Civica on Monday to get the idea of structure and classifications really embedded and then will be working our socks off to get our revised business structure, outstanding decisions and assests over to Civica by 6th January.

After Christmas, we hit the ground running with for our first service specific workshop on 8th January! Don’t expect another weeknote before Christmas but keep your eyes peeled in the new year.

The team wishes you all an incredibly Happy Christmas break and a brilliant New Year!

The tree is iCasework and the cats are the team 😀

Implementing a Council Wide Casework Management System – 13th December 2019 Weeknote

Welcome to the first weeknote for the implementing a Council wide casework management system project. This system will be used by all services and help them to deal with enquiries, complaints, freedom of information (FOI) and subject access requests (SARs) quickly and easily so that Citizens get responses in a timely manner.

This project breaks a bit from tradition (as far as my weeknotes go); We aren’t building a thing, we are procuring and configuring a thing. This poses it’s own challenges as we are working in a way that is unfamiliar to HackIT (waterfall delivery). I, personally, have not delivered a waterfall project in, oohhhh, about 7 years.

The difference between Agile and Waterfall in GanttPRO Blog


This is proving a shock to the system for me and I am struggling to help navigate the team through the rough waters of full upfront specs and trying to think of everything immediately.

My comfort zone is learning by doing, testing and feeding back. The big bang approach of waterfall deliveries makes me (and my colleagues) more than a little nervous so we’ll be working hard to mitigate that nervousness as best we can with our provider whilst still moving forward with the procurement and implementation.

Out of the comfort zone progress

Although this is the first weeknote, the work to assess and procure a system has been ongoing for some time. Three solutions were assessed against the needs of the Council (via G-Cloud) and iCasework (from Civica) was selected as the system that best meets the Council’s current needs.

In the past 2 weeks, the core project team (myself, Helen Mcfarlane, Simon Gray and Mandy Woodhull) have been working hard alongside Bruce Devile and all the service representatives to populate the information requested (including branding, templates and a business structure). We’ve managed to do this in a first draft then final version style as elections and annual leave have left some of the key players we need unable to commit the required time to feed in.

The first draft is good enough for Civica to complete the initial configuration of the service so that we can have our overview workshop next week. Booking this in has involved a lot of diary interrogation, emails, meetings and prioritising to make sure the right people are looking at the right things at the right time.

Next week we will be in a better position to assess how much configuration the system will need to work for the Council and get our ducks in a row before the Christmas break.

Improving the Repairs Hub (side hustle style)

Just a quick update from the Repairs Hub land to say we have been beavering away in the background and making improvements as a side hustle.

In the old world, when agents working in the repairs contact centre add contact details to a repair, they have to either retype details or go back to the tenant details page in CRM, copy the name, past it into the repairs hub and then go back to tenant details again and copy the telephone number. This takes about 20 seconds per job*

flow for RCC agents
We got rid of the red bit!

In the new world, agents now see the tenants names and contact numbers just above the fields for contact name and number whilst in the raising a repair form.

Repair form with contact details

This will save them from retyping or having to copy and paste from a different window/tab.

Thank you Igor from Unboxed, Bukky from Hackney’s Dev team, Rashmi who found time for Bukky to help and the RCC leadership for their unstoppable enthusiasm to iterate and improve.

I’m hoping to side hustle another improvement come new year so, watch this space 😀

*As timed by me when I shadowed calls for an afternoon and noticed what a faff it was, not an official figure

Improving the Repairs hub – 8th November Weeknotes

This is the final weeknote of our intensive 4 week project to address the most pressing issues facing Repairs hub users (last weeks note is here).

The avid readers amongst you will know that colleagues from HackIT, the repairs contact centre and Unboxed have been working together to improve the Repairs Hub application based on feedback that’s been gathered from users since March 2019.

This last week has been all about code code code. Igor from Unboxed joined us for 5 days in which we have been writing, testing, approving and deploying code regularly.

kitten fist bumping

Monday saw us move hosting from Unboxed’s Heroku to Hackney’s. Thanks to the wider Hackney and Unboxed dev teams for supporting with this.

Tuesday saw the team develop and get flags for new builds onto dev and Hotjar onto the NCC staging environment (thanks to Emma Lewis from the NCC CRM team for progressing this so fast). Bukky also put some revised error messages to live.

Wednesday was busy; Hotjar went live on NCC CRM and we verified feedback was coming through as expected (it was, hooray). Address and contact alerts went onto dev for approval and Bukky put more error messages live.

Thursday was a day of approvals for Barnes. New build flags, contact alerts and address alerts were all approved and deployed to live. Barnes, Bukky and Igor also agreed what the minimum viable product for caller notes was in the time remaining (show the name of the agent adding and the date the comment was added).

Friday has been our final code push to show agent name and time/date of comment on the front end get approved and deployed to live. The final error messages went to live and we also gave our final show & tell. Thanks to all who attended and fed back to us on how you think we’ve done

happy child walking

All in all, each one of the four weeks has been a success. We’ve addressed the highest priority feedback and made improvements for users and residents. Our colleagues from the repairs contact centre have enjoyed working more agile and we’ve built really good working relationships. We achieved one of our stretch goals in our final sprint and have gathered even more insight form users to build a more holistic view of what is important to focus on next.

We’ve been brutally honest about what we can achieve now and what we’ve ear marked as the next thing. The job isn’t done yet, and we know it, so watch this space!