Re-engineering Hackney content weeknotes 15/07/19

Last week was as jam-packed as ever at Team Re-engineering. We had our two content poppers from Skinners Academy join us for the week and we’ve now only got 100 pages left to move from Goss to WordPress. This is largely our new Parks, Sport and Health category, which we’ve had to leave until last due to the reshuffling of the section. Thanks to Bruno and Nadine for all their efforts last week. 

We now need to refocus on search. We don’t have search by keyword on the WordPress template yet so users can only search on the old Goss pages. As a stopgap, we’re going to add the Goss search to the WordPress header. It will only index the old Goss pages but results will link to new pages where the redirects are in place so it shouldn’t feel too clunky to users. We’re not far off implementing WordPress’s in-site search anyway so this is a temporary state of affairs.

Mo has coded the logic and much of the styles for the navigation; we’ve had a play around with it and have a couple of suggestions but it’s looking on point. Meanwhile, Carolina’s started mocking up the Big One: The Homepage. 

Assets have been bothering us a bit this week. It turns out that GDrive is great for PDFs but, where the user needs to interact with the document, it doesn’t cut the mustard. If a user accesses a Word doc on GDrive, they are given the option to ‘Open in Google Docs’ and, if they do, they can then ‘Request access’. We don’t want to be dealing with this. Until we are able to Google the answer or Google implements the answer, we will have to store these files on  WordPress. Not ideal, but not a disaster. 

David came to my rescue last week with a lead re Google Data Studio. I’m now GLA-bound on Thursday to learn all about how to relay those lovely stats to services in Google Data Studio, without going all Bloomberg News on them. 

We’re still trying to recruit for our accessibility testing but, in the meantime, are also investigating Site Improve as an option for automated testing across the whole site. Our friends at the Learning Trust say it’s like having another Editor around so we have high hopes. Not going to bring in snacks though, is it?

Submitting a Planning Application weeknotes – Week commencing 12/09/2019

Welcome to Submit my Planning Application weeknotes. 

For more general updates, continue to check our project site; showing all the great stuff we’re doing and key information about the project. Alongside the project site, also be sure to check out our blog post which will be up next week! 


A thank you to Philippa who has helped me shape my thinking around how I can facilitate the preparation sessions ahead of the service assessment. And how I can deliver these sessions at a high standard well enough for the team to get the best out of them.   

What we did this week:

  • Started sprint 4 and our main focuses are working on the Submit Form and Make payment 
  • Added the chosen URL to Hackney’s DNS register    
  • We’ve found a way to store details of our users so that they can come back to applications without having to re-enter them each time
  • Worked on general testing such as, any timeout sessions and Error 404 
  • Added on endpoints for ‘creating and editing a user/user profile’   
  • Added GeoJSON (an open standard format designed to represent simple geographical features) data structures to the site address 
  • Added a way for the front end application to track the state of the application, so that when users come back to their application, they’ll be able to make changes and the edits they made previously will be shown 
  • Preparation for the Show and Tell

What’s next:

  • Preparation session for the Service Assessment 
  • Working on the upload documents 
  • We will be having a Show and Tell next week –

Time: 1:30 PM till 2 PM. 

Date: Thursday the 18th of July,

Location: Hackney Service Centre, E8 1DY  

What are we keeping an eye on?

  • Integrating with Tascomi 
  • Address API 


  • None this week

Thanks for reading!

Planning Applications Team

(AKA Emma H, Andy B, Andy E, Ana, Matthew T, Nic).

Weeknote: Hackney Spacebank, w/c 8th July 2019

It’s a bumper edition weeknote from the Spacebank camp!

Here’s the key things you need to know:

Community halls discovery phase

We started the discovery phase for the community halls work this week. In brief, our aims are to understand:

  • who are user groups are, including internal users
  • the needs of our users, including internal users
  • the current end to end journeys of our user groups
  • the current business process for community halls bookings and access

We are excited to be working closely with colleagues from housing, in particular Sara, Coralie and Gilbert. Our work will be contributing to the community halls review – it’s great to working strategically with the service, collaborating from the outset and learning together. On Wednesday, the team spent the day visiting some of the community halls in the borough. 

For those interested in agile type things, we are experimenting with a kanban approach to delivery. This is instead of time boxed periods of work, known as sprints in a scrum approach. We hope this will give the team more flexibility to explore themes and deal with unknowns (of which there are many). We’ll refine the backlog every week, have retros every 2-3 weeks and regular feedback sessions (also known as show and tells). 

Prototype phase service assessment

We completed this at the end of June. For details, check out our Trello board and assessor report. I also wrote a blog about our experience of preparing and participating in the assessment. 

I’m pleased to say that we had excellent feedback from the assessors. We will be taking forward their recommendations in our upcoming build phase. Speaking of which…

Build phase: library booking system
We are bottoming out our team requirements and budget. I hope to finalise things in the next week or so. We are linking up with West Berkshire and Hertfordshire as they are working on booking systems to share learning and to explore whether there is potential for further collaboration. 

Manage Arrears Weeknotes: w.c. 8/7/2019

This week has been quiet for Manage Arrears.

The Leasehold team continue to use the bulk sending tool. They run another batch of letters this week. No bugs or concerns were reported or highlighted during the runs. It is rewarding to see the snags settling, the team independently using the system and less support required to process letters.

Over 1000 service charge letters, with a value of over £1,000,000, were put through the system in 3 minutes!!!! Of the 1000 letters, only 4 failed to meet Gov Notifies validations and were manually printed and posted. We already have a task in our backlog to rectify this, by moving the address lines up slightly.

The Income Collection team were shown how to set up templates within Gov Notify so they can make use of Gov Notify for SMS rent campaigns. Feedback was that it is easy to use.

Next week: We plan to investigate how entries recorded in the arrears action diary via the APIs effect Universal Housing.

Extending Repairs Hub to RCC Agents – final Show & Tell

In our last Show & Tell for Extending Repairs Hub to RCC we showed improvements developed based on initial feedback from RCC agents that have been using the new app since 12 June.

I’d like to thank the 25+ people who have been actively involved in developing Repairs Hub since its inception last year. It’s great to see it grow, with 50+ users already registered on the system and almost 1000 repairs raised over the last few weeks.

Have a look at the S&T slides to see what users say about Repairs Hub and a list of recent improvements. Link to Slides