Benefits & Housing Needs Service Re-design Project – Sprint Notes 12: Sharing is caring

Those of you that have been following these sprints notes will notice that one of the main themes that underpins the work we are doing is sharing information more effectively, so that we can create better outcomes for staff and residents. With this in mind (and because we care) we are happy to share with you the latest updates on…

Understanding Vulnerability:

Last time, you might remember we had designed what our Vulnerability and Strengths snapshot should look like based on previous research with staff. The good news is we have now finished building the prototype and have a number of staff throughout the service testing it.

At this week’s Show & Share David spoke about his experience of using the snapshot tool.

It was great to have David share his experience of using the tool. He also provided some very valuable feedback around how we can improve the tool moving forward.

How to improve it:

  • Use council-wide: could be useful information for other teams and services to see
  • More clarity on whether this is vulnerabilities of whole family (or lead applicant)
  • Pull vulnerabilities information from existing systems (e.g. UHW) where it already exists

Why this is useful:

  • Help us all have an instant general understanding of a client’s vulnerabilities from a single system (e.g. Housing Reg and Lettings teams before putting forward of a property)

On top of this we are starting to chat to other staff about their experiences. Here is some of the highlights:

  1. Staff appreciate the simplicity and ease of use, but need support to build it into their day to day processes.

“It’s getting into the routine of doing it really. I’m not sure that we will always remember – but that’s our problem!”

  1. Staff see the potential for this to improve the way they work with residents to resolve their situation.

“I think it gives a good snapshot in a moment in time… giving that picture will speed up communication and calls with the client”

  1. Staff who have less resident contact don’t always feel it’s appropriate to open up a discussion around vulnerability.

“I’m not dealing with them at the start of their claims so it’s a bit tricky to probe too deep into their personal issues they may be facing”

Thank you again to all the staff who have volunteered to be part of testing so far. Over the next month we will be working to achieve:

  • Accessible to all staff in Benefits & Housing Needs and Customer Services (via Single View for continued testing)
  • Impact measured (service, user and return on investment) 
  • Be ready for a service assessment to scale to live
Evidence Store:

What is an Evidence Store? If you are a follower of the Sprint Notes… you may remember something called the ‘Doc Upload’ Tool. Well, we have renamed it and are starting to build a much larger and more stable platform for residents and staff to use.

Over the last month we have been building the API for the Evidence Store to work across some other tools e.g. Single View. All that good work is now finished and the API is ready to go. We will be looking to ensure that the new API:

  • Saves time
  • Reduces duplication
  • Is easier for staff and residents to use

Of course, it is a little hard to test a ‘techie’ thing like an ‘API’. So we are building some tests, time trials and light-weight prototypes to do this. Updates to follow in future Sprint Notes.

Our vision for Evidence Store is to provide officers with a seamless end-to-end experience from requesting documents, to reviewing and signing them off. Below are some screenshots of what the experience will look like for officers – approving and tracking the documents have been uploaded. The customers own unique ‘store’!

What are we doing next?

  • Benchmarking how long things take now, so we can see if this new way is an improvement
  • Starting to test the new process of uploading documents from Doc Upload into Single View
  • Uncovering insights from current usage of Doc Upload to inform the next steps of the Evidence Store 
Self-service Tools

Over the last month we have been working on articulating our future resident journey via a number of self-service tools. 

We have been prototyping all of these individual tools. Trying to work out if they are feasible and what sort of impact they will have on a resident and on the service. In this edition we will be mainly talking about ‘Taking steps toward finding a property’ and ‘Understanding my housing options’.

We will be taking these two ideas into testing. Then we hope to find out how the tools help residents understand their housing options and assist with looking for a privately rented property.

Shared Plan

It has been a few weeks since we last updated you on the progress of the Shared Plan. We’ve been doing a lot of testing, and interviews with both staff and residents around how they find using a ‘Shared Plan’ vs a ‘Personal Housing Plan’.

Our main aims of the research were: 

  • Understand how officers currently conduct assessments and create PHPs, and how the Shared Plan might work within this process
  • To conduct usability testing to help us improve the experience

Below is just a snippet of what we are finding out.

With this in mind… we are going to start work on some new experiments.

Testing a standardised pre-assessment plan with residents at approach:

  • Will it help reinforce the message that they will be required to complete actions during their journey?
  • Will it help manage their expectations and help people come better prepared?
  • Can we free up time during the assessment to focus on actions to address their situation?

Can’t wait to share what we find!

That’s all folks! Want to know more?

Here is the link to our most recent Show & Share Session 22/07/20.

Keep following our notes and posts, and feel free to get in touch with Claire or Scott if you’d like to chat through any of the work.

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