Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-02-14

A cartoon of a design workshop.

GOOD THINGS

mySociety came to HackIT and ran a great workshop on noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour (ASB). We had nearly 15 people involved (including folks on Hangout) including representatives from HackIT, impacted Council service areas, mySociety and three other local authorities: Maidstone, Westminster and Greenwich. The session was excellent with lots of input from the representatives of the front-line staff who deal with these issue. mySociety is processing the outputs which they will share with the participants shortly before starting work on a prototype extension to FixMyStreet (FMS).

Our initial technical integration is progressing. The team is working hard to connect FMS to Alloy – the Council’s casework system for managing issues related to the borough’s highways. We have a timeline for this work now and it’s progressing well.

We have a plan on how we going to structure the conversation about ways of working changes for Council teams impacted by this work. We know that some teams are going to need to work differently – with an addition of needing to close tickets in FMS as well as in their current casework systems. We have a plan to demonstrate how little extra effort this will be and how we’ll work with them to manage the role out.

Our Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is nearly complete. Our Corporate Information Manager is chatting to mySociety about the standard FMS Privacy Statement but we don’t foresee any blockers for this.

We’re moving ahead with how the Hackney Customer Contact Centre. We’re working on training while they are putting together a list of “champions” to receive the training first and then cascade it later.

We’re ticking off technical tasks. We’ve already set up the web domain for Report a Problem (reportaproblem.hackney.gov.uk), are discussing automated cyber security scanning and are well into arranging for automated emails to come from Hackney rather than mySociety.

We’re planning our user research. We’re keen to ensure that the issue categories and other parts of the service are the best they can be for our users.

LEARNED THINGS

Being able to tick things off feels good! There’s a lot to do to bring FMS into Hackney and sometimes it feels a little overwhelming. Being able to get some quick wins like the domain, email setup and the PIA helps keep momentum going.

DIFFICULTIES

We’re short of a Service Designer. One of the things we want to do next is update the content of the Hackney website related to raising the kind of issues reported into FMS. At the moment HackIT doesn’t have any spare service designer capacity so that work will be done by someone else (and then checked later).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our widely distributed team continues to do great work on this. Thanks to Matthew, Louise H., Louise W., Struan, David, the folks working on the Alloy integration, the representatives from the Customer Contact Centre and everyone who came to the Noise and ASB workshop.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Finalise the email setup, cyber security and PIA
  • Have our regular update meeting with the representatives from the Customer Contact Centre
  • Have our first meeting about user research
  • Do a first cut of the service design for the website update
  • Book a session to define our measure of success
  • Book in a first show and tell!

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-02-07

A picture saying “Preparation is the key”.

GOOD THINGS

The main thing this week has been preparing for next week’s workshop on reporting noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The key to this is ensuring we have a good idea of the outline structure of the time we have together and a good agreed set of expected outcomes. It’s important though to be relaxed as to how the session evolves – as long as we keep an eye on the time! We’ve got representatives coming from HackIT, Council service areas, mySociety and three other local authorities: Maidstone, Westminster and Greenwich.

We’ve signed-off the PO. This has made mySociety very happy and given us a solid foundation to work together.

We’re starting to find extra work that needs doing. This may sound like a bad thing but it’s actually a really good sign that we’re thinking deeply about the issues. It’s good to have these  things turn up now rather than for them to catch us by surprise later on. An example of this is how issues raised on the national FixMyStreet site will be routed to the Council service areas once our site is live – given that the reporting categories for the two will be different.

We’re about to change the design of how issues are reported via the Hackney website. We had a good initial meeting about this last week and are having a service design session on Monday. We’re hoping that by changing things for the existing user journeys, before we introduce FixMyStreet, we’ll have some analytics based evidence of the right way to do things when we do the integration.

The integration with the Highway team’s Alloy service is progressing nicely. The team at Hackney and the technical folks at mySociety have been working together regularly and now have a plan for the rest of the work.

We’ve nearly completed the Privacy Impact Assessment. This has turned out to be a much easier task than for some services as RaP actually stores very little personal data.

LEARNED THINGS

It’s good to ask questions. We weren’t planning to look into the reporting side of FixMyStreet for a while but a quick question has already caused some interesting discussions about the best way to extract useful data from the system.

DIFFICULTIES

There is a big open question of how service areas in the Council will need to change their ways of working when RaP is introduced. The issue is around having to also close open issues on RaP as well as in their existing systems (until they are integrated). We’ve not has as much contact with the impacted service areas as we would like so we need to decide the best way to do that – either individually or via the creation of a working group.

Bringing together the issue categories used by the Customer Contact Centre and the ones we’re using in RaP. We’ve not had sight of the ones used by our colleagues in the Contact Centre yet and are yet to understand how much they will need to adapt how they work when RaP is rolled out.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our widely distributed team continues to do great work on this. Thanks to Louise H., Louise W., David E., Martin, Matthew and Rasit.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Run the noise / ASB workshop and plan the next steps of that work
  • Website redesign for current issue reporting
  • Discussing how we can best work with our colleagues in impacted service areas in the Council
  • Understanding the set of issues use by the Contact Centre
  • Start planning out first show and tell!

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-01-31

A clipper ship

A picture of an American 19th century clipper ship.

GOOD THINGS

It’s been a week of “stead as she goes”. Not much to report this week as it’s mostly been preparation for upcoming things.

Understanding our existing noise-related work. We’ve got a meeting next week to discuss the noise and ASB service design that’s already been done here at Hackney.

Setting up our website service design experiment. Following some great info from mySociety we’ll be meeting to discuss this on Monday.

Noise nuisance workshop coming together. We’ve already had acceptances from Hackney contributors as well as mySociety, Westminster and Greenwich Councils and hopefully soon Maidstone too.

Bringing in our contact centre colleagues. We’re meeting early next week to see how to best include our contact centre colleagues in the introduction of this new service.

LEARNED THINGS

It’s important to check the fine details. Matthew caught a couple of good things in the design of the version of FixMyStreet that we’ll be using. Not that we couldn’t have fixed them later but it’s good to be correct from the get-go before we put the site in front of anyone for user research.

DIFFICULTIES

Unfortunately, we still haven’t delivered the FixMyStreet PO. This is quite overdue now.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our widely distributed team continue to do great work on this. Thanks to Louise H., Louise W., David E., Martin, Matthew and Rasit.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Land the PO
  • Plan our website service design experiment
  • Start discussions with our contact centre staff
  • Confirm the attendees for the noise nuisance workshop
  • Review an initial draft of the technical integration document for Alloy (for Highways)
  • Start thinking about our Privacy Impact Assessment
  • Start planning out first show and tell!

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-01-24

A picture of the standard mySociety FixMyStreet service in Hackney Council branding.

A little late – the latest update in the implementation of FixMyStreet for Hackney Council.

GOOD THINGS

Look and feel slotting into place. Things ended on a high last week with mySociety delivering HackIT first sight of what FixMyStreet will look like with Hackney branding. This was done very quickly using our web asset library – going to show again how we can accelerate projects by designing for future reuse.

First cut of reporting categories agreed. We’ll be able to iterate these when we do further user research.

Website service design discussion kicking off. All the relevant parties have been invited to attend a session this Friday.

Noise nuisance workshop being planned. Invitations have been sent out to potential attendees including staff from two other councils who have previous experience of this area.

LEARNED THINGS

Sometimes it’s just good to take the easy path. After a number of conversations we’ve decided to currently leave the name of the service as Report a Problem. We’ll ensure we test this with Hackney residents before the go-live but we feel we have more important things to do with our time at the moment.

DIFFICULTIES

We still haven’t delivered the FixMyStreet PO. I’m reliably informed this should land by the middle of next week. It’ll be great to get the contractuals under our belt and be able to focus on delivery.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our widely distributed team continue to do great work on this. Thanks to Louise H., Louise W., David E., Martin, Matthew and Rasit.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Land the PO
  • Confirm how we’ll approach the service design for how FixMyStreet will integrate with the Hackney Council website
  • Start discussions with our contact centre staff about how to train the right internal staff on how to use FixMyStreet to report issues citizens phone in with
  • Confirm the attendees for the noise nuisance workshop
  • Review an initial draft of the technical integration document for Alloy (for Highways)
  • Start thinking about our Privacy Impact Assessment
  • Start planning out first show and tell!

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-01-17

Weeknotes are a way for us to keep people informed about progress on the project.

THE PROBLEM

  • It’s currently difficult for Hackney residents and visitors to the borough to report issues such as broken street lights, potholes, noise nuisance or fly tipping
  • To do so often requires knowledge of the inner workings of the council
  • Our current citizen reporting systems don’t integrate well to our back-end casework systems
  • Very few of the reporting mechanisms offer any explanation of the process or next steps tracking 

PROJECT GOALS

  • To enable Hackney residents and visitors to be able to use a single high quality digital service to report a variety of issues that the Council is responsible for solving
  • For our call centre staff to be able to use the system to record issues raised by citizens via phone calls
  • For these issues to be routed to the appropriate part of the Council
  • For a citizen reporter to be able to track the status of issues
  • For a citizen reporter to be automatically notified by changes of status
  • Through user research to demonstrate that citizens and staff are comfortable using the service
  • For the service to be integrated to back-end digital services
  • Being able to report on our overall and service area specific metrics

GOOD THINGS

Things are definitely starting to fall into place. We have our first weekly project status call on Monday and there’s going to be lots to discuss.

We’ll be discussing the initial statement of work. We’re not fully planned out with what we want from FixMyStreet in Hackney so it’ll be interesting to see how we can firm up the initial pieces of work while leaving some flexibility for later in the year.

Discuss the initial integration work that’s already taking place. This is between FixMyStreet and our first back-end system Alloy.

We’ll be talking about planning in some service design workshops. We’re thinking about having different “start pages” for each of the reporting categories so that google can handle the issue of people using different words to mean the same thing. We’re also very keen to start designing how we’re going to collect information related to noise nuisance. We also need to have a discussion about if / how we’re going to support anonymous reporting.

We still need to come up with an overall service name. FixMyStreet doesn’t really work for us as many of the issues won’t be street-based. If you have any ideas let us know in the comments below.

Outside of the catch-up call there’s lots of other things going on.

We’ve been contacted by some senior staff in the Council. They have pointed us to particularly keen Hackney residents who may be interested in participating in user research for the project. It’ll be great to work closely with people who will be actively using the service.

We’re lining up the first conversation with our Contact Centre leads. We’re doing this to understand how we can train council front-line staff in how to use the service to report issues residents are phoning in about.

LEARNED THINGS

You need to make time. It should go without saying but with lots of projects in critical stages in HackIT it’s sometimes possible that projects that are going well get given less time! Something to be careful of.

DIFFICULTIES

We need to plan further ahead. We need to plan in at least a couple of service design workshop and may now have left it to late to hit the dates we’d originally planned. Always remember to get meeting planning done first!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to everyone who worked on the project this week – David D., David E., Louise W., Louise H, Matthew, Martin, Struan, Susan, Sandrine, Rasit and Wayne.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Organise the PO for FixMyStreet
  • Have our first weekly catch-up
  • Book the two service design meetings

The following people will be working on the project: David D., David E., Louise W., Louise H, Martin, Matthew, Wayne, Rasit, Struan and representatives from Hackney’s Highways team.