Benefits & Housing Needs Service Redesign Project – Sprint Notes 2: Where did January go?

Sprint Notes 2: Where did January go?

January 2020 for the redesign project has been anything but “dry”, with lots of exciting progress being made.

Here is what has been happening around the service:

Understanding vulnerability, capability and assets:
Colleagues from public health, adult and children’s social care joined us to discuss how we might start to determine which customers take which route on our service vision tube map. This involved identifying what we considered an asset and a vulnerability. I personally found it easier to decide on the top 3 assets rather than the top 3 vulnerabilities. A prominent factor in these discussions was a customer’s level of resilience and why this may vary.

We are now looking at what we can create to help these conversations and ways of working happen effectively across the council and service. Guess you will be able to read all about it in our next edition ;).

Single View:
44 users have now been on-boarded and the feedback is coming thick and fast. The team have been working on ‘tech debt’*. Essentially, they have been making sure the tool is super stable and able to use no matter what happens; making it a more sustainable and efficient product in the long run.

The team also went to a Hackney Service Standard Assessment, where the product is tested against a number of GDS principles. It was a great session, with learnings happening on both sides of the table and you can read about it in Soraya’s weeknotes.

Over the next two weeks please watch this space for Comino documents coming to single view soon!

Collaborative Working:
We are trialling the use of prompt questions to help hospital staff identify patients who are in need of help with their housing situation.

Arto Maatta and Tony McDonald spoke about the new process to identify patients who need assistance earlier, thus smoothing the hospital discharge process. With Tony now being able to triage cases, upload documents and educate Homerton Hospital staff on homelessness prevention.

Sabrina Pathan also announced the ‘Peer Practice Group’ an opportunity for service staff to:
Talk about new ideas to support and improve the service
Highlight problem areas in a safe space with peers
Get support from colleagues with complex cases by pooling skills

Benefits & Housing Needs staff deal with customers who have experienced trauma on a daily basis, this has an impact on them. It’s healthy to share this with your colleagues, so come along and get involved.

Email Sabrina at for more details.

So much good work is happening, and I can’t wait to see what else is coming soon!

Information & Evidence:

We are making some good progress with our testing on the Information & Evidence tool. Testing with the Housing Management Neighbourhoods Team + Settled Homes Team; to try and find out if the tool could change resident’s attitudes on their housing expectations and also to see whether they would like the tool to be online and to access other housing options.

So far, it is! Results are above, and we are looking to continue testing in this way to find out more, and where the tool will be most useful for Service Staff and Residents. In the next two weeks we will be showcasing the tool for some of Hackney Councillors and Customer Services. If you would like to find more about this work please email Chris Caden (

What’s next?

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

* Technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt, but can be also related to other technical endeavors) is a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

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