Hackney Spacebank: Weeknote, w/c 2.3.20

User Research on calendar

We carried out some user research on our calendar last week, and as a result we now have some great insights into how we can make using it a better experience for our users. 

Our research informed us that there was some confusion around the availability of rooms, leading us to consider if there is a better way to display what is available and unavailable for the date and time selected. 

Research also highlighted some issues around information users would want to have once they have completed a booking, including, but not limited to;

  • How to access the room on the day
  • How the room would be set up on the day 
  • Whether changes could be made to the booking, and if so was there a cut of time for this
  • Was there a number they could call if they had any issues on the day

Our action going forward is to add this missing information into the confirmation screen and booking email. 


This week we wrapped up Sprint 6 by carrying out a retro that focussed on communication. It was important for us to discuss as a team how we felt about the agile ceremonies, and if there were any adjustments to be made. We also had some honest conversations around our usage of Trello and how we can make this a more productive experience for us all, and really understand the worth in it. We look forward to trying out some changes in Sprint 7.

Sprint 7

Sprint 7 is upon us, and although we still have a few tasks to complete from Sprint 6 it hasn’t slowed down our productivity. We are going full steam ahead!

As a result of last weeks user research, we will focus on re-evaluating and finalising our options around the calendar this sprint, some of this work involves iterating our forms and carrying out some more user research. In addition, we hope to set up our payment system and test this out.

Tune in for more next week on Spacebank!

Housing Data in the Cloud: Weeknote, w/c 24.02.2020

It’s been a quiet week on the project. Chelsea and Simon from AWS are coming on Monday to help us set up the sync in our cloud environment. After that, we can start running some small tests with our on prem database. The main focus this week has been devising those tests. 

We are looking at two things:

  • What happens on a “round trip” (on prem database -> AWS Postgres database -> changed record -> sync process back to on prem database)
  • What happens when records are added in a batch

I’m thinking about how to finish this phase of work well. Any tips on this would be particularly welcome in the comments section. I want our documentation to be as good as it can be and accessible for other teams. We’ve been doing this as we’ve gone along and my gut feeling is we are in a good place with this. 

Other things I am mulling over:

  • I want the team to have a strong sense of everything they have accomplished
  • Have a sense of ownership over the outcomes and be able to proactively shape the recommendations for “what next”
  • To celebrate the amount that we have learnt
  • To assess how we’ve worked together as multidisciplinary team and how we’ve collaborated with others
  • To reflect how we have communicated and engaged with others about our work

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-02-28

Image of a peacock show off its feathers.


I did the first show and tell for Report a Problem this week.

Things are going to plan – now that we have one! I finished the first integrated plan for all the teams involved in Report a Problem. There’s a lot of moving parts with a lot of dependencies.

Our integration with Alloy is full steam ahead. The Alloy team is working hard with mySociety and we’re progressing on time.

We’re booking people in for the FixMyStreet training course. This is now booked in for 18/3/20.

We’re going to spend a session working out how we can measure our success. We have plenty of thoughts – from a reduction in people calling our call centre to using user research to ensure the service is easy to use.

We on the way to moving RaP into Support. The Support team have agreed to support our Service Owner in continuously improving the service by looking at the ongoing measures of success.

We’re moving forward with the website updates. We’ve discovered we can leapfrog the development by copying what’s already been done for Hackney museums.

We’re looking into integrating the Hackney resident single-sign-on system On Account with Report a Problem. So residents only need to remember one username and password for everything related to the Council.


Show off what you’re doing as soon as possible. From doing the show and tell I received the suggestions of both using the technology from the museums website and the One Account login..


We still need to finish our FixMyStreet category mapping to Council service areas. This is so we can make sure issues are being routed to the right places.

We still need agreement from the affected service areas to “double close” issues. Teams will need to close issues in their existing case management tool and in FixMyStreet.

We still don’t know who is going to do the website development work. It’s been suggested that one of our apprentices that has already worked with WordPress would be idea so I’m looking into that.


Our widely distributed team continues to do great work on this. Thanks to Matthew, Louise H., Louise W., Martin, Sam, Struan, David, Rasit, Wayne, William, Ade and Nic.


In the next week we will do the following.

  • Checking with everyone that the timeline is correct
  • Speak to our apprentices about helping with the website
  • Carry on with all of our technical work and the privacy impact statement
  • Ensure the right people are booked on the training course

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 23/2/2020

*Phase 3*

Phase 3 of Manage Arrears has come to an end 🙁

It has been a brilliant phase and we are proud to have Rents caseworkers onboard. The project has been left in great shape for the next team. The backlog has been neatly groomed and the business case is currently on the Digital marketplace


  • Before the project closed, Richard from Made Tech and I met with our Product Owner and his team to close the project down. It highlighted the project’s challenges and achievements. It was a very good session and our Product Owner indicated that this phase was definitely a success. 
  • SMS Automation has now been running for four weeks now. Approx. 100 SMS have been sent, reminding tenants with low arrears to make a payment.
  • During the last week of  our project, we implemented the redesigned case details page, another quick win with a big impact. The redesign was inspired by the Single View and tested with users. It meets accessibility standards making case details easy to review. 
  • We switched on letter automation on 10/2/2020, for patches W2 and W3. 146 letters were successfully triggered and sent to Gov Notify since then automation has been running smoothly and over 300 letters have been sent with zero failures.


Switching on the automation of letters was delayed as the data warehouse didn’t work as expected when Manage Arrears was due to be switched on. Many thanks to +James Vowles and his team for getting it up and running within the week. As the system is highly reliant on the data warehouse, in the next phase it might be a good idea for the data warehouse to automatically notify Manage Arrears if it fails so automated communications can be temporarily held.   

Special Acknowledgements

Many thanks to; 

+Nick Prince, +Elaine Greeve, +Cate McLaurin, +Miles Alfold and +Alex Demetriou who have all added so much value to the project.

OneCase – Implementing a Council Wide Casework Management System: 28th February 2020 Weeknote

Welcome back to the weeknotes for OneCase, Hackney Council’s new casework management system.

For those of you new to the project, the last weeknote we published was on the 7th February. As a bit of a recap, though, OneCase will be the software we use to manage all casework, freedom of information (FOI) and subject access requests (SARs) received to Hackney Council. This means every service in the Council needs to know how to and be able to use it. A big task!

We’ve had a name change, too! After a successful naming competition, the system will be called OneCase from now on.

Since you last heard from us, we have been performing our user acceptance testing (UAT) on the software. Colleagues from the Mayor & Cabinet office, parking, housing, housing needs, business analysis and complaints, children’s services, adult services, information management and building maintenance have all come together (physically as well as in spirit) to ensure that the system delivers what they need to do their job in an efficient and effective way. Thank you to colleagues in ICT who have afforded us some of their space so that we can sit as a team; It’s been an enormous help to have everyone co-located for the testing. I’m also delighted that some of the IT crowd were as excited about UAT as the testers! It made us all feel a little less stressed so, thank you.

All the preparation and planning we have done seems to have paid off. We’ve found 126 issues that we either need help with or that need system tweaks making in just 2 rounds of UAT. That is no minor achievement and the test team should be (and are!) very proud of themselves. We have 1 week of UAT left where our main focus will be verifying all the fixes, working out how to handle what can’t be fixed and double checking the more complex flows to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

We do have a couple of items which are of more concern that others and could derail us if we don’t keep a close eye. These are around saving changes to documents using Google Docs, saving changes to draft emails and uploading Google Docs. We’re hopeful that between us, Hackney and Civica can pool their knowledge to chase down the gremlins and get it fixed.

We’re working with integration experts too anticipation of environmental UAT when we can test single sign on (SSO), emails, data migration and our FOI submission form (provided by MySociety). Environmental UAT is due to start in the first week of March and run for 2 weeks

In the background, we have been planning for the roll out of the system across the Council. The approach we have decided to go for similar to that of the G-Suite roll out in Hackney. They used show & tells, user guides, floor walkers and team based experts to ensure staff had the support they needed to move over to working with Google tools.

We won’t have any formal, classroom style, training. We plan to have 16 ‘experts’ dotted throughout the Council to help within their own teams. We’ll also run show & tells on particular aspects of the system which we can record and put online afterwards for reference, produce user guides, hold ‘Ask us anything’ type sessions for any specific issues via hangouts and have floor walkers across the Council’s sites after launch who will be on hand to help in the first few weeks of go live.

As we need to cover the whole Council, we need to get this right so we’re working hard to make sure we have the right people doing the right things.

That’s all for this update. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any feedback!