Claire Oldham, operations manager at Hackney Council and Scott Shirbin, delivery manager at FutureGov

We’ve been working with Hackney Council and MadeTech, collaboratively redesigning their Benefits and Housing Needs. We’re inviting you to follow our work through shared sprint notes as we design a service which is easily understood, fair, accessible and beneficial to Hackney residents. These sprint notes were first published by Hackney. You can follow our process on HackIT, and the other great work happening at Hackney Council.

Another lightning, sunny two weeks have passed with the team. A sprint focusing on building and testing — like always we suppose! We won’t lie, it’s hard to stay inside whilst the sun is shining. But we managed to do quite a bit from testing two prototypes around Understanding Vulnerability, and we finished our MVP for a Shared Plan. This is of course just some of the work and thinking that has gone on. Keep reading to find out more 👀.

Understanding Vulnerability

Understanding Vulnerability is a pivotal step in our future process. Enabling us to create a bigger picture of a resident; bringing together their vulnerabilities and their strengths. Taking our learning from our crowd-sourced knowledge bank we made two prototypes in the hopes to learn the following from staff:

  • what’s your experience asking wider questions to build a picture of the resident’s situation?
  • how do you feel about capturing vulnerabilities and assets?
  • how do you feel about taking an additional step if you identify someone is vulnerable?
  • what support can we give you to work in this way?

Some staff from the Benefits and Housing Needs service and Customer Services have been testing this for just a week, and already we’ve learnt a lot. Thank you to all those involved!

Through using the tool and open questions the officers testing were able to get an understanding of customer vulnerabilities and strengths. Helping to provide a better support solution and how to best link up with other services.

We’re taking this learning and starting to develop ideas for the future:

  • the prompts for actions are a good start
  • moving towards asking good, open questions, people often want to share but don’t know they can
  • could we have different officers we can refer to, who know what services are available in the community?
  • expand the COVID multidisciplinary team set up to work for this; could flag when someone has multiple vulnerabilities

We’re very excited about continuing this work to create a product that fits into existing processes shown in Single View.

Shared Plan

Sometimes the sun does get in the way, especially when partnered with a few bank holidays. The team had a shorter sprint to build and make sure we had the best product to start testing. Of course, there’s many parts to the shared plan; all of which are quite technical.

Every time we build something, we’re constantly amazed by the passion and speed of our development and design team. These are talented people, who are doing incredible work behind the scenes to have real impact. 👏 Look out for an interview with them in our next sprint notes.

Over these last two weeks, they managed to take the product from almost nothing into something incredible. Below is what it looks like for the service officer and the resident.

The service officer view of the Shared Plan
The resident view of their collaborated Shared Plan

We‘re eager to start testing this and getting it into the hands of both residents and officers this sprint. Come back next time to find how it went and what’s next.

SMS Tool & Document Upload

The SMS tool continues to be on fire, messages are being sent everywhere. You may remember last time we had 180 texts per week. Now we’re almost nearing 300 texts per week. It’s incredible to see the tool being used so much and so widely across the service. You may be asking yourselves, what is it actually being used for?:

  • majority of messages are confirmation of accommodation (especially hotels) / appointment bookings (to see a place / meet in the HSC)
  • quick communication: under the age of 40 are more likely to reply, and when more ‘casual’ language is used, the resident responds more often
  • get an email address
  • get a document
  • ask questions related to the timing of appointments/actions

We‘ll be doing deeper research this sprint to understand if payments are being made after residents are nudged and if evidence is being provided when it’s asked for.

The Document Upload tool, we’re starting to plan how we make this a central part of the service process; which means rebranding to The Evidence Store. Next week we‘ll have a wider update on what this means and what the future holds for the tool.

Want to know more?

Our most recent Show & Share Session on 27/05/2020.

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


Sprint notes 9: The sun has got its hat on was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

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