Service Standard Assessments

All of our new services are assessed against the Local Government Digital Service Standard. We publish the reports and assessments below.

Finding support services

September 2020

The Find A Support Service tool, which has had a version live since the end of March, is a tool designed to allow people to quickly find support services in the voluntary and community sector that they might need in Hackney and the City. In this phase, a back office side has also been developed to allow organisations to add their listing to the tool and council officers to verify those details. The team presented a trello board as contextualising information for this assessment. Here is the write up of the recommendations and the summary of the results.

Amazon Connect Discovery

July 2020

Hackney Council’s contact centre receives around 1.6 million phone calls a year, mostly relating to council tax, benefits, parking, and waste. We expected an increase in calls for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and wanted to experiment with contact centre automation. The experiment would help us work out if agents would be freed up to handle more complex or more valuable work, and whether residents would benefit from and trust an automated telephony service offered out of hours at low cost. We selected Amazon Connect with a third-party agent front-end, to be used in our Neighbourhoods Contact Centre. Simple balance and transaction history enquiries were automated for tenants and leaseholders. 

Towards the end of the pilot phase we had a service assessment as a way to help us evaluate the system as a whole. Ordinarily you would not do an assessment for a telephony service, and not necessarily for a product within a wider service, but we wanted some external scrutiny of our approach. This scrutiny and advice from the assessors would also help inform the strategic considerations of whether to roll Amazon Connect out more widely. 

The assessment and feedback is available on Trello.

Manage a Tenancy Replatforming

April 2020

Manage a Tenancy is a ongoing service provided by HackIT to our Housing department. It is used by Housing Officers and Area Housing Managers to coordinate different types of 1-2-1 visits, usually on-site at the tenant’s property, to discuss any outstanding issues and offer different types of assistance from the council.

Approximately 3 years ago HackIT entered into a contract with OutSystems (a low-code platform) to enable the hosting of services such as Manage a Tenancy on that platform. After a considerable period of reflection we have decided to move away from OutSystems requiring us to replatform the service that are currently built on it. During this time we are taking the opportunity to improve these services – for example making it possible for Housing Officers to record information from their 1-2-1 visits even if there is no internet connection present (data is automatically uploaded later).

The replatforming and iterative improvement work continues. This Service Standard review covers the first round of that work.

Manage Arrears Phase 3 Beta

Jan 2020

The vision of Manage Arrears is to create a simple service for residents and caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection. During phase 3, there has been a strong emphasis on our Rents caseworkers’ user needs to encourage them to use the system.

We presented these slides to our panel of assessors that consisted of three internal and one external panel members. We were assessed based on the 14 GDS service standards, which we captured via Trello. This assessment was an excellent opportunity to evaluate and identify learnings. Our Trello board holds the outcomes, recommendations and evidence to support the Manage Arrears Service standards.

DevOps Practices – Discovery

Sept 2019

The purpose of the discovery piece was to look into HackIT’s technology and culture to see how we could introduce a DevOps approach. We spoke to, and ran workshops with, teams across HackIT; and built a picture of the concerns and pain points. We used this insight to produce five hypotheses that we could test and thus determine if they improved our work in HackIT.

The service assessment was a light-touch conversation with two internal and one external assessor. The assessment brought to light a number of considerations for us to take forward on the project. We had conversations with the assessment lead in advance to help to guide our preparation. The agency we worked with on the discovery fully participated in the assessment and the retrospective afterwards.

Submit My Planning Application – Beta

August 2019

We want to provide a digital planning application service which allows users to submit planning applications; it should be a service so good people prefer to use it. ‘Submit My Planning Application’ is intended to help applicants submit the right information, first time and to feel informed throughout the process. Through this, we aim to reduce invalid applications and unnecessary customer contact.

The team shared all their progress via the Submit My Planning Application Google site as they went, and then rounded everything up with a service standard assessment. All the evidence and recommendations were captured and communicated via Trello.

HR E-Forms – Discovery

August 2019

The aim of the HR E-forms project is to “develop a deep understanding of user needs for making changes to existing positions or to the employee’s pay/working arrangements”. In the discovery phase we sought to explore why, when and how users find and use HR E-forms; to understand the particular difficulties users had experienced and their impacts. This provided clarity on what the most important issues were and where in the user journey they were occurring, as well as enabling our product owner and users to prioritise which needs to consider in the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Prior to the assessment, we shared the discovery phase show and tell slides and some of our assets in the user research library with the assessors.

During the assessment we printed out some of our outputs from the discovery phase and talked everyone through our work and outcomes. – Focusing on 4 predefined questions.  

After the assessment, we received the assessment outcome in the form of a report, which included what we’ve done well, things we’ve learned, possible gaps and recommendations. 

Hackney Space Bank – Alpha

July 2019

The aim of Space Bank is to improve access to low or no cost meeting space in the borough. In the prototype (Alpha) phase we’ve been working with libraries to explore how we can provide better information about their meeting rooms and how we might improve the booking process. For our service assessment, we created a Trello board and the assessors completed a report. We gave assessors early sight of the Trello board so they could familiarise themselves with the project and report template to lessen the admin burden. We published a blog reflecting on our experiences of taking part in service assessments. 

Re-engineering Hackney Content – Beta

June 2019

We purposely carried out our Beta service assessment about three quarters into the project rather than at the end so that we would have a chance to implement any advice our assessors had to offer before the end of the project. We evidenced our standards on a Trello board, which assessors accessed in advance and upon which they provided their advice.

Manage Arrears – Beta Service Standard Assessment 

June 2019

Earlier this year we enhanced the Manage Arrears product by introducing a Bulk Sending feature for the Leasehold Services Team. This tool was developed following a short discovery phase with the team that identified several pain points. Manually updating spreadsheets and mail merging letters were some of the biggest issues identified. The feature we developed allows our users to insert single or multiple payment references into the Manage Arrears Application, select templated letters, preview them and send them via Gov Notify to residents.  

In June we carried out a Service Standard Assessment on Manage Arrears and its latest developments. The assessment included a panel of both internal and external candidates, who assessed our product and its delivery against 15 standards. The Service Standard Assessment includes the findings, outcomes and recommendations.

Hackney Space Bank – Discovery

April 2019

Discovery phase service assessment

Rent Account

December 2018

My Rent Account – assessment 

Pipeline

November 2018

Pipeline was originally developed by LocalGov Digital in 2014. The Alpha product has been developed further by HackIT to meet the needs of a tool to manage project portfolio, provide status updates and encourage collaboration with other organisations. The service assessment was conducted with two external assessors, Josie Lews Warren (LGSS) and Michele Lambert (GLA), to whom we are extremely grateful for their support. Further information about Pipeline can be found in a recent post on the HackIT blog.

Digitising Neighbourhood Contact Centre

November 2018

In the spirit of transparency and openness, we approached our Service Assessment with the intention of sharing it widely with Hackney and beyond. We also wanted our assessors to have a view of the entire service and not just their specific area of expertise. To this end, we applied a different approach from the Assessment/Report method so far employed at HackIT. Instead, we created a website that describes fully our service and process; and an associated Trello board that maps each of the 15 standards to the relevant evidence on the website. Our assessors could prepare for the Big Day in advance by referencing both of these tools. And, during the event, notes and recommendations could be added to each standard on the Trello board directly and contemporaneously.

Manage Rent Arrears – public beta

October 2018

Report (internal)
Assessment document

Track a Repair – private beta

October 2018

Report (internal)
Assessment document (external)

Manage a Tenancy – private beta

March 2018

Report (internal)
Assessment document (internal)

Hackney Works – live

March 2018

Assessment document (External)

Book a repair – public beta

December 2017

Report (Internal)
Assessment document (External)

Fostering – discovery

September 2017

Report document (Internal)

Rent Accounts – public beta

September 2017

Report document (Internal)