Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-04-03


The project is still advancing – albeit rather slower than before. I had a couple of meetings related to RaP this week and found some time early in the week to keep things moving. However, I’ve picked up 3 new additional projects this week, on top of the other major one I was already delivery managing, so didn’t find any time to work on this after Tuesday.

Our user research is still going ahead. I’m looking forward to hearing feedback on our proposed reporting categories and our website mock-ups.

Our work with Alloy is preceding well. The Highways team is starting to use it for their work and the integration with FixMyStreet is moving forward.

We got some great feedback from our subject matter expert staff about the mySociety proposal for recording noise nuisance in FixMyStreet. We’ll be feeding that by to helping them iterate their prototype.


No-one has a problem of changing priorities in a crisis. mySociety has been very open to discussions of potentially moving the items in the combined timeline to accommodate the raft of new things the Council is needs to focus on at the present time.


It’s increasingly hard to find time to work on this – either for myself or folks in other teams we’re depending on. We want to keep some momentum going but it’s looking like things might take a bit longer than planned in the current circumstances..


Our widely distributed team continues to do great work on this. Thanks to Matthew, Louise H., Louise W., Struan, David, Dave, Rasit, William, Ade, Sandrine, Emma and many others.


We’re going to need to have some pragmatic and frank discussions next week as to how we move forward. We’re all keen to make this happen -it’s just going to be a matter of when.

Hackney Re-Platforming Weeknotes Week ending: 2020-04-3


A new eta for the Manage a Tenancy project this week as Bukky and Tuomo leave the team to focus on new projects. We’re sorry to see them go but know that they’ll be working on great new HackIT projects to provide even more platform APIs to let us build great new services in the future.

The rest of the team continues to focus on delivering Tenancy and Household Check, lining up our ability to delivery new Housing Officer processes quickly and easily and working on closing down the project well in preparation for new Manage a Tenancy project work in the future.


  • Test Tenancy and Household Check with Housing Officers using Hangouts Meet and update the process following their feedback
  • Ensure we have a template for creating new processes
  • Make sure Ana and Wayne continue their upskilling in the new data-driven front-end
  • Ensure we’re progressing the handout of Manage a Tenancy support to the HackIT Applications Support team
  • Complete a “project pause” document linking to (1) our internal “Hub doc” that contains links to all our service development resources and (2) our document which outlines the project work we think should take place next.


Thanks to everyone who worked on the project this week – Ana, Bukky, David, F, Gill, George, Lorraine, Richard, Tuomo and Wayne.

Finding support services near you: weeknote 03/04/20

Still here! Still ringing organisations every few days to check they are too! And encouraging them to update their websites and Twitter channels. Emma and Winston’s Mastermind specialist subject: Voluntary Organisations of Hackney 2020

As the current state of affairs becomes the new normal, we want to give map users helpful info upfront. We’ve reacted to feedback by adding details of specific activities provided under COVID. Organisations have generally already settled into a new rhythm – much like the rest of us – so we’re not creating an updating headache. 

In anticipation that, presumably, at some point this will all end, we spent a productive couple of hours yesterday hammering the service categories into some sort of order. The original data came from the Well St pilot and now we’re calling on YOU to indulge in a spot of audience participation. Please take 5mins to give your view on how you would group and name these activities. It’s the sort of mindless task that goes well with a bottle of ginger beer and a bourbon. Ahem. 

We now have 75 organisations on the map. We know from other Council projects that food is an area that concerns many residents and have made a push to make sure that deliveries and food banks are well-represented across the borough.

We’ve added an organisation search and also designed a style for those HQ’d outside Hackney but have a strong presence in the borough. Plus users can now download the data to a spreadsheet, while reminding would-be print-ers that the information changes regularly and they only have a snapshot in time. 

The map is on many radars including Coventry, Lambeth, Leicester and Trafford Councils, UK Authority, KPMG and Liverpool John Moores University. Remember, it’s all on GitHub for reuse by development teams. 

COVID has given us an unexpected opportunity to test our concept in the field. We’ll be running a retrospective next week on ‘lessons learnt during COVID’ and are determined to come out of this faster, stronger and leaner.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Share the map.

Virtual Council meetings, weeknote: w/c 30.03.2020

Legislation has been passed that allows Councils to hold their statutory meetings online during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are getting our heads around the implications of this and how we can implement something quickly which will fulfill our legal obligations.

It’s a genuine opportunity to do something differently. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm from our Council members and really thoughtful engagement on issues such digital inclusion. 

This week we have:

  • Identified the key user needs
  • Started drafting guidance for meeting participants
  • Drafted amendments to our Constitution in light of the new regulations

Our first virtual Council meeting is scheduled for 14th April – there’s nothing like a hard stop to focus attention. Next week we will be:

  • Agree on a tech solution to test based on a review of user needs
  • Reviewing what devices Council members are using to participate in virtual meetings
  • Testing our guidance – is it fit for purpose, do users understand it?
  • Running a test meeting with volunteers

It is great to be working with colleagues from different teams, in particular Governance and Legal. We are using a GoogleChat room for asynchronous discussion (keeping this out of emails where possible) and Trello to plan and deliver our actions. These collaborative tools are new to some the team. Everyone has got stuck in and we’re learning by doing. 

I’m really grateful for the fast (and thoughtful) work from LOTI and MHCLG Local Digital Team on this. Much of their advice we can copy and paste which is incredibly useful. 

We’re keen to talk to other Councils about what they are doing. Please get in touch via LocalGovDigital Slack channel or using the comments section. 

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-03-27


Everyone in the team is still healthy. These are understandably trying times. The most important thing is that we support each other while we focus on the most important things the Council does. We’re not sure about the introduction of Report a Problem so at the moment we’re continuing as-is but, depending on how things pan out, we may need to pause the project for a while in the near future.

We’ve got some great service design mock-ups for the website. Emma did an excellent job build on the work of the other Emma to give us something we can show to prospective users.

Talking of users – we’re planning our initial user research. Our user research team remains undaunted by the virus and is doing great work to set up remote research sessions.

We’re setting up a conversation between mySociety and HackIT about potential future functionality for FMS. This would mean us working together on location-based-routing, integration of GOV.UK Notify and recording of anti-social behaviour.

We’re still going to now virtual mySociety FixMyStreet community meet-up. Our Apps Support folks are still keen to take part..

We had a great presentation about the progress of expanding FMS to record noise nuisance. Everyone was impressed by the clickable demos. We’re collecting feedback from everyone to pass back to mySociety.


When you’re already used to remote working things can somewhat carry on as usual. mySociety is already a completely virtual organisation where everyone works from home. HackIT has spent the last two years setting the council up to have our staff able to work from anywhere. We can’t say the last two weeks have been easy but we already had a lot of the infrastructure in place.


We still need to finish off the category list. This is becoming a blocker now.

It’s naturally proving tricky to get time from people suddenly working on higher priority project. See above – this is how it should be.

We had to postpone last week’s training and aren’t sure now when it will happen. This is a knock-on from the above.

Many moving parts. There’s a lot of moving parts to the project so sometimes it gets a little exhausting.


Our widely distributed team continues to do great work on this. Thanks to Matthew, Louise H., Louise W., Struan, David, Dave, Rasit, William, Ade, Sandrine, Emma and many others.

In particular I’d live to give a shout-out to Emma O. who created a first great set of Hackney website pages for RaP.


The main thing now is to have a decision on whether RaP is going to go ahead in the current circumstances. Once we know that we can plan accordingly.