Finding support services near you: weeknote 14/02/20

This week’s weeknotes are brought to you by team member Winston Mullings. 

This has been a very exciting week in the wonderful world of ‘Finding support services near you’. We carried out user testing, upskilling research and also gained some valuable insights surrounding scraping information from websites into a database.

User Testing

We gained access to the ‘out the box’ MiDoS front end and started to configure the basic functionality. Unfortunately incorrect admin rights restricted our user testing with residents but, despite this, the session was fruitful. The residents said many things which are in line with the work we are carrying out:

“Listen to what people want, that’s the most important thing.”

Resident


The resident testing revealed a disconnect between what they call things and what professionals call things, so will we need to address this in the taxonomy and front-end.

Upskilling

“I Use Facebook but not Instagram or Twitter, I don’t know how that actually works.”

Voluntary organisation

The residents highlighted a wide range of digital platforms that they either already use or are familiar with. The team took this forward with desktop research to assess how easy it is to set up an online presence with WordPress, Wix, MeetUp and Eventbrite; and also whether these platforms offer sufficient fields to hold profile information of organisations. We found that by in large these platforms do have sufficient profile pages, and they are simple to set up; but that’s easy for us to say – we will need to carry out some user testing to validate.

Scraping

OpenActive is an open source data schema developed by IMIN (as in ‘I’m in’) that scrapes information from websites via a search API. IMIN is now collaborating with MiDoS around how to scrape online content and push to its database. IMIN currently only covers physical activity, but this proof of concept could be widened to the sorts of organisations in scope for this project.

Next week

Annual leave means it may be a slow couple of weeks but we will continue with user testing. We will be including back end user testing with organisations; we will investigate and continue further testing of the taxonomy; and we will continue investigating the opportunity of IMIN populating MiDoS.

Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support!

Finding support services near you (formerly Directory of services) weeknotes 17/01/20

This week, we’ve been busy trialling our chosen database, MiDoS, and analysing the results from our interviews and surveys with local organisations. 

Before departing for the slopes, Chris from Intuiti – the company that owns MiDoS – kindly sorted us out with a login to the admin interface. It is through this route that organisations can enter their details into the MiDoS database, ready to be pulled into any front-end website we choose. 

Meg and Winston tested the out-the-box interface and we are pleased to report that, with zero training, it’s very easy to use. We’ll verify this with volunteers from the organisations themselves but we couldn’t help having a poke about ourselves in the meantime. 

There are a few fields we want to tweak before we open it up to organisations and we’ll be working with MiDoS to configure those to suit our needs. And we also want to apply our own taxonomy to organisations, based on the services they provide, so that end users can find the services they need.

Our user research lead, Wing, has finished interviewing voluntary organisations large and small about their digital presence; and our survey on the same subject has closed. We’ve found that 90% of organisations (18/20) use their own website to market themselves and their activities, and many supplement this with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to promote individual events. One of the two organisations that doesn’t have a website expressed a desire to have one, which we hope to address through the ‘upskilling’ arm of this project.

Only 10% of organisations (2/20) have an up to date entry in the existing iCare directory. One of them, which did not have its own site, said they did get referrals from it. The rest cited “lack of time”, “it’s not used”, “I can’t remember the password” or “I don’t know how to do it” as reasons why it wasn’t updated. 35% (7/20) were not listed in iCare at all.

We can conclude that only one organisation saw the existing directory as a key part of its digital strategy. What does that mean for this project? Is the directory dead?

We don’t think so. With iCare, organisations are asked to update too many extraneous details that they’re already updating on their own websites (eg opening hours, minutiae of activities). Many don’t bother, and end users have stopped trusting the information. Equally, iCare doesn’t provide sufficient information on what the organisations actually do and consequently doesn’t encourage click-throughs to organisations’ own sites. Finally, its front-end design tucks the directory right at the bottom and also fails to encourage users to browse through to other organisations providing similar services.

We intend to address these issues with this project and, with the benefit of Agile and continual testing, we’ll be able to make sure we stay on track. It’s also worth highlighting that one interviewee wanted a user-friendly directory that not only signposts clients to them but that they can signpost clients to.

One clarification following our renaming exercise. Although we are now calling this project ‘Finding support services near you’, this isn’t reflective of any potential name for the directory. It’s simply the working title of the project so that those involved can understand readily what we are trying to achieve.

We rounded off the week with a planning session for our ‘How might we… verify an organisation’ workshop for next week. We’ll let you know the outcome of our collective creativity in next week’s update. If you can’t contain your excitement until then, you can always distract yourselves with Megxit. 

Hackney’s new Change Support Team

Shortly before Christmas, I joined Hackney Council to set up a new Change Support Team. I’m well overdue a first weeknote, so I’ll brand this a ‘month note’ for now… The main news here is that we’re hiring for three very exciting roles – keep reading for details. 

Some first impressions of Hackney:

I’ve been unbelievably impressed by my colleagues around the Council and the work that’s being done – in just a few weeks I’ve seen amazing examples of change and innovation across all areas of council services

The speed and scale of change in the borough is massive. My colleagues in the Data and Insight team put this image together which gives a sense of the scale of change in the last ten years.

It’s sobering to remember though that this level of change doesn’t benefit all Hackney residents equally. The borough still has 11th highest level of deprivation in the UK, and that’s particularly challenging when you look at, for example, the impact of rapidly rising rental costs on Hackney’s low income residents.

Broader than the trends in Hackney, the scale of rising need is shocking. National policy failures in housing, mental health services and adult social care for example all take on new meaning when you see what those crises mean for vulnerable residents and the front line staff who are being asked to do more with less to support their residents. 

The response to these challenges has been incredibly impressive at Hackney, with staff leading on new ways of working in their service areas to manage all sorts of change. In just the few weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen how Adult Social Care have introduced the Three Conversations Model, how colleagues in Housing have introducing new tech to streamline work around managing tenancies, and partnership working with the voluntary sector and local communities to improve outcomes for young black men. Over 70 staff members from across the council have completed three day Agile training, to help introduce new ways of working, focusing on keeping users at the centre of design and quick experiments which encourage “failing fast”. 

The new Change Support Team:

The Change Support Team will provide extra capacity to support this kind of change. The team will act as an internal consulting agency, sitting with different services across the Council, building confidence and capability to deliver complex change. 

We’re going to hire for a multidisciplinary team – combining expertise in Service Design, Behavioural Insights and Agile Delivery. We’ll run short term projects with different teams around the council. The roles will essentially be like working for a public sector agency – but without the business development and with the ability to work long term with colleagues and build up a real expertise in the borough and our residents.  

The success of our team will be defined by the degree to which we’re perceived to be an integral part of the Council service we work with – embedding the confidence to embrace change and adopt new ways of working, not simply ‘doing transformation to’ services.

I think the roles we’re recruiting for are very exciting jobs – it’s a great way for someone with local government experience to apply their skill sets across a range of services and develop expertise in a range of new areas; similarly this team is a brilliant opportunity for anyone with academic, private sector or voluntary sector background to apply their skills and make a real difference at scale. 

We’re looking for people who: 

  • Have experience of working in teams using Lean, Agile and User Centred principles to drive complex change 
  • Can demonstrate excellent problem solving skills – ability to adapt and iterate when necessary, and lead in ambiguity 
  • Enjoy – and are good at – working with people. You’ll bring an agency mindset to the role, seeing the service teams around the Council as our clients, and bring client or stakeholder management experience to this work. 

I’ve included an overview of the roles we’re recruiting to below – and you’ll find the full job adverts and descriptions on our recruitment site.  I’m more than happy to chat to anyone interested. If you’re not sure whether the job description is right for you, please get in touch on zoe.tyndall@hackney.gov.uk and we can set up a quick chat. 

Two of these job ads aren’t live yet. Keep an eye out early next week – or drop me an email and I’ll be in touch when the adverts are live

  1. Behavioural Insights Analyst (Up to £54k)

Some of the things you’ll be responsible for in this role: 

  • Research: Use quantitative and qualitative skills to lead on research in discovery phase; understanding how Council services are used and where problems are that BI approaches could help solve
  • Designing, running and evaluating experiments: Using behavioural science methodologies to design interventions; working closely with the Service Teams to understand impact of tests on costs, efficiencies, processes and residents’ experiences of Council services
  • Communicating and implementing change:Using outcomes data from tests to work with other teams to implement changes to Council services. Communicating projects and methodologies effectively to build capability and confidence of colleagues around the Council to adopt behavioural science approaches

This job is ideal for someone looking to apply their expertise in behavioural insights to a range of different topics, services, communities and problems. You’ll have expert knowledge of behavioural science techniques, and experience implementing these to achieve better outcomes.  Ideally we are looking for someone with core behavioural insights experience; however we are happy to consider applications from those who have worked in related fields, for example in digital marketing, advertising, public health or social research.

See the job description here

2. Service Designer (Up to £51k)

This role is ideal for someone looking to apply their expertise in change management and agile working to a public sector setting. You’ll do some of the following types of work:

  • Writing Business Cases: Use council data sets and research with service teams to quantify issues, to present analysis of why change to a process or service will benefit the council and residents. 
  • Create process maps and customer journeys: Work with service teams and colleagues in the Change Support Team to map existing journeys and processes, as well as other Agile tools such as user pen portraits, How Might We statements, etc. in order to focus on where Change should happen
  • Design solutions and trial these with service teams: You’ll work with the Behavioural Insights specialist and Delivery Manager to design new processes and test the impact with Service Teams. 

We’re looking for solid analytical skills here, more so than in some Service Design jobs. You’ll need to be confident in business analysis skills, understanding the costs of existing processes and making the case financially to work on any given issue. 

You might have worked as a designer, a management or strategy consultant, researcher or analyst, or have had responsibility for innovative approaches to developing services or programmes; you’ll now be looking to apply your skills to a wide range of different service areas and to join a dynamic community focused on delivering better outcomes for residents

Please see job description here.

3. Delivery Manager

As Delivery Manager, you’ll be central to the new Change Support Team’s success. You’ll have responsibility for: 

  • Managing the team’s workload: Leading on our Agile approaches – for example, leading Sprint planning meetings, Sprint review meetings and retrospectives, managing the Team’s Trello board and cleaning and prioritising the backlog;
  • Relationship management: Liaising between the Change Support Team and Service Teams around the Council, managing pipeline of potential projects, scoping and designing projects with Service Teams
  • Communications and Evaluation: Leading on creation of product road maps, show and tells, week notes, other communications around the Council. Evaluating impact of the team’s projects and creating dashboards of the team’s work

You might have worked as a Scrum Master, in Delivery or Product roles, or have had responsibility for innovative approaches to project management. You’ll be happy to work flexibly, supporting colleagues on projects as the need arises and developing skills in related areas, such as user centred research and data analysis as required.

Manage a Tenancy : Weeknotes – 30/8/19

Many things coming together for MaT – but lots still to do! I’m drawing all the different parts together into one “Hub document” intended as a central repository of everything about the service for both team members and stakeholder. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing that.

The status update in that doc currently says the following.

  • ETRA will go live on 4/9/19 with some post-live updates to follow shortly afterwards
  • Following the great project-retro with Emma H. last week we’ve completed a first draft Team Charter which we’ll continue to iterate in future retrospectives. Currently we are aware we need further sections on impact mapping, metrics and our service design work.
  • We had the initial meeting with DXW on 29/8/19 which went well. Contract still to be signed so start date still not decided but hopefully it’ll hopefully be less than two weeks away.
  • The full set of user journeys and user stories that will serve as the initial agreement for that work still need to be completed but we’ve had some great meetings with our Product Owner that have got this well under way
  • We’re starting work on significantly improving the quality of the backlog
  • In general we’re lining everything up to make sure we’re good to go for when DXW arrives – there’s a lot to do!
  • There was a very thought-provoking and productive meeting with our team’s new Service Designer and the Head of Digital about the SD work that will be undertaken in September. This turns out to be more ambitious and far reaching than I had understood. It’s looking like it may be just the preamble to another round of discovery rather than the lead-in to immediate new digital features for MaT. This is going to involve some very interesting and positive conversations in the near future.

At the same time there’s a lot of other great things going on in HackIT from the experiments in team structures to the DevOps work – onwards!

Hackney Spacebank: weeknote, w/c 12th August

Meet the unicorn of omniscience – handsome isn’t he.

Three things you need to know about Spacebank this week:


1. The end of our discovery is looming

We are aiming to finish our discovery work on community halls by the end of August. There’s nothing a deadline to help us focus on what’s important vs. what’s nice to have. The trick is finding the sweet spot of knowing enough to make a decision about what to do next, rather than chasing the unicorn of omniscience. 


2. Observation of community halls team

Our researchers Sam and Winston spent a few hours observing the community hall team this week. They shadowed colleagues who are responsible for one-off and repeat bookings. It was great to experience first hand how the team deals with enquiries and handle bookings. This extra detail really adds to our understanding about the process. Thanks to Coralie and her team for giving us their time and insight. 


3. Up next

We’ve got a feedback session next Tuesday with stakeholders. We’ll be sharing what we’ve learnt so far and what we’re planning to do next. Hearing what they think is really important to us – good or bad. Their feedback will help shape where we focus our efforts in the next couple of weeks.

We’ll be analysing all the data we’ve gathered from our interviews with the community halls team and existing bookers. We are looking for themes within and across both groups and using the information to build journey maps. We’re also organising interviews with colleagues who use community halls and “non-bookers”.