The challenge space

Public Health England’s (PHE) digital weight management programme explores the role digital could play in a family’s healthier weight journey.

There are an increasing number of children with excess weight across England, with over a third of children leaving primary school above a healthy weight. The government recognises that childhood obesity is a systemic challenge, and that broad and varied responses are needed to change behaviours and build capabilities to tackle it.

There’s also variation across the country in the local provision of weight management services for children and families. Where services are provided, there’s a lack of published data on their quality and effectiveness. What’s more, services often suffer from poor uptake and engagement due to barriers of access, cost, time and stigmatisation.

PHE’s digital weight management discovery phase started with the hypothesis that there’s a gap in England for free and accessible weight management support, at a time and place that’s convenient for children and their families.

This programme is the first of its kind at PHE, demonstrating PHE’s new way of working. It blends together service design with traditional approaches to public health, driven by a multidisciplinary team of service designers, user researchers and subject matter experts in obesity and behavioural insights.

PHE and Uscreates completed the discovery phase between January and March 2018.

Understanding our users

We kicked off the project by thinking about the families we’d be designing for: Who are they? What do we know of their experiences? What challenges do they face?

With the help of subject matter experts in the room, including family nurses from Southwark, we were able to focus our research and have an open conversation about the types of families we needed to find out more about.

Our user research involved 10 families across England with children aged 5 to 9 who were above a healthy weight (7 daughters and 3 sons). Based on their occupation, the families were from social grades C1, C2 or D. Seven were white British families, while 3 were black and minority ethnic (BAME) families. Four of the families had previously engaged in, and completed, a face-to-face weight management service.

We conducted ethnographic research with the children and their families, including in-depth interviews, observations and diaries. This gave us a level of knowledge deep enough to begin understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of increasing childhood obesity rates.

Our sampling mix wasn’t meant to be representative of the population of families with children above a healthy weight in England. Instead, it hoped to capture deep insights across a small but diverse group of families. These insights aim to inspire the design process and lead to further iterative research and testing with larger samples in later phases.

We then brought our users’ insights together into a set of parent-and-child needs, mapped across their journey to managing their health and weight. We also identified 4 parent personas and 2 child personas with distinct characteristics.

Below is an example of a parent persona created from our ethnographic research. It gives our team a rich picture of the parents’ life and experiences of managing their child’s health and weight. These personas will be vital to keeping families front of mind as we continue to shape the programme.

Example persona from research

Example persona of a disengaged parent produced during discovery. Persona segmentation (disengaged, fighter, thriver, survivor) based on the Healthy Foundations Life-stage Segmentation Report.

From our research, we learned that:

  • there is an unmet need for weight management support in children and families
  • it’s about health, not weight, when it comes to children
  • families are familiar with the concept of healthy living but they struggle with the doing, and sustaining changed behaviours
  • having the whole family on board is important but challenging. It was particularly difficult in separated families, where the children had different parents or carers at different times
  • the mother’s health goals reflect and impact positively on the whole family
  • children’s needs centre around having fun, and families prioritised needs that link health to fun for children
  • the whole family is connected and online 24/7 across devices
  • there’s a gap in the market for high-quality, whole-family digital weight management tools, rather than healthy eating and physical activity tools aimed at adults

We also saw first-hand the challenges of conducting user research with children, especially with parents nearby. For example, the parents would often speak on the child’s behalf.

We’ll address this limitation in the alpha phase by planning more one-on-one, age-appropriate research activities with the children.

Family cooking together

For most families, their ultimate goal was to be a ‘healthy family’ rather than ‘manage weight’. When it came to understanding what being ‘healthy’ means, families placed a strong emphasis on eating and cooking as the primary way to maintain health.

What’s next?

This discovery phase built on PHE’s understanding of children’s and families’ needs regarding weight management. It brought a fresh perspective by starting to explore if – and how – digital approaches could support a healthier weight behaviour-change journey. It also introduced non-digital staff at PHE to service design and new ways of working.

Soon, PHE and Uscreates will move into an alpha phase, to build on our understanding of the users and their needs identified in discovery. We aim to identify what capabilities a product or service must have to meet those user needs.

During the alpha phase, we’ll explore several concepts through further user research with families, with a particular focus on children – followed by rapid prototyping cycles, where we’ll build prototypes, test them, learn, change and test again!

Get involved

If you’d like to learn more about our research, or contribute to our understanding of the problem space, please email lisa.thompson@phe.gov.uk, Product Manager.

Watch this space for further updates from the team as we move into the alpha phase of our project.

Original source – Stephen Hale

internal comms nsight learning and best practice.jpg

It’s hard to not know what you know – let’s talk internal comms

by Rebecca Roberts

Yes, let’s state the flipping obvious but it IS really hard to not know what you know and often as marketing and communications professionals, you (should) know all there is to know about your organisations’ strategy, key challenges and opportunities that both external and internal audiences should be across.

The ‘curse of knowledge’ is a phrase which perfectly suits the challenge of making headway on an internal communications strategy (and I’ve coined it from language guru Stephen Pinker).

When it comes to communicating with internal stakeholders it’s tough to assess where the genuine knowledge gaps exist and where messages are really just not getting through – particularly as you will often know the messages yourself having been privy to them or having made it your business to know.

Internal networks don’t always flow the way we think they will. Messages don’t necessarily cascade down to teams despite whatever management structure is in place. When internal groups and relationships are relied upon, you can guarantee that there will be a variance in clarity and messages will either get stopped in a bottleneck or take on a life of their own.

As communications professionals we’ll often be asked to get a message ‘out’ to a particular internal group and where we don’t have chance to plan, one-hit wonders are the norm, with a message pushed out on one channel and ticked off the to-do list. However, we have to persist in our drive for a plan to ensure we actually achieve both impactful outcomes as well as internal understanding of what ‘good comms’ looks like.

In essence then, no matter how repetitive or simple a plan needs to be for a particular ‘get it out’ request, if we have a clear structure of how our internal channels operate and a plan for how content is mapped across it – we’re already part of the way there to instilling a two-way process and getting content owners to think about how they want to engage with staff.

Having worked on a couple of interesting internal communications projects recently, a number of findings from the audits I ran and subsequent campaigns might be of use for your next internal project;

New Channels and Tools Take Time: a sense of fatigue among staff and a feeling of internal communications being ‘done to them’ is an easy by-product of rushing out lots of new updates and systems, even when they are under the banner of ‘making your life easier’. You might have spent time assessing the market and identifying the perfect tool, or IT may have the best new system, but for most staff, they will take a little longer to adapt. Be realistic and consistent.

Lower barriers to entry: with new systems, internal staff social platforms like Yammer, or two-way ideas like peer-to-peer praise or awards, staff are still likely to wonder what on earth this means for their day-to-day role. Don’t just launch something and throw it out there – chances are people will sign up and then things will go very quiet. As well as thinking about how you can use something for your own messages, spend some time thinking about how to stimulate engagement and lower the barriers to entry. If it’s easy, fun, regular – it’s more likely to succeed.

Once is never enough: sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve told people too many times, this is never the case with internal communications, consistently saying the same message (hopefully in different ways across different channels in a creative and engaging way!) will help to actually resonate with your internal audience – even if you feel like you know it, remember the curse of knowledge effect!

You don’t always have to spend big: a great push across some internal channels quite simply involved some free chocolate and a bit of fun across a complex staff base at a number of sites. Staff said they felt it was ‘nice’ and ‘fun’ – plus used the right channels to share in that, again helping to boost two-way engagement over a stagnated platform the organisation had been using. Sometimes it’s the meaningful small things that makes a difference to the working day; a cup of tea, favour, cake sale, a simple ‘thank you’, although obviously a big Easter Egg hunt is also pretty fun.

Forget fussy corporate speak: whilst you may have brand guidelines for external stakeholders, when it comes to speaking with your own staff, you may need to challenge the public profile guidelines and re-evaluate how you’re speaking with staff. They’re not your public, they are important to you, particularly as they often represent you. Work with your HR department if you need to – find a tone that has key ingredients like being friendly, clear, fun, respectful – it’s way more likely to land than a jargon-full corporate email.

Integrate offline and online: go on, I dare you! Whilst I’m all for repeating the same message (see previous point) don’t just take that as 101 emails with the same phrase in, that’s boring. Thinking about how to seed a message and disrupt the usual day to day deluge of internal emails, ‘dump it all on SharePoint’ approach, or throw it on scraps of paper on a noticeboard (bless), will get you thinking about the whole environment your staff operate in. List what you’ve got from the usual, standard channels and spaces and any that might be worth trying. When it comes to planning you can then map out what needs to run across offline and online, which is better for one over another and who the best gatekeepers are.

Rebecca Roberts is founder of threadandfable.com

image via the National Archive of the Netherlands

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

royal wedding communications and pr case study.jpg

Any event soaks up the time of a busy communications lead. But make it a royal wedding and you have just multiplied it by 10 or even 20.

by Louisa Dean

Last November Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle announced that they were getting married in Windsor. I have to admit, I did scream with excitement when I heard the news but then realised the enormity of the event and felt very sick! This was massive, there was going to be a shed load of work, stress and pressure. But if we got it right – a lot of fun.

So we had to be clear on what we were going to do and how we are going to deliver it.

1. Set clear objectives and make sure you deliver on them

Our objectives were:

  • Ensure that HRH Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle have a successful wedding by providing excellent community services that enable successful event management
  • Show Windsor in the best light to world as there will be local, national and international media as well as potential tourists watching the televised event
  • Maximising opportunities before, during and after the Royal Wedding to ensure that we draw tourists and businesses to the town and the wider borough.

Sounds easy and it was straight forward but we did enhance our messaging. We focused a lot on planning your journey and booking car parking in advance as well as providing information about entertainment on the day, bunting produced by schoolchildren and footfall increase to Windsor. And we did a lot of work with foreign media before the event to promote the town. But we did follow those objectives.

  

2. Things happen – plan the worse (thankfully it didn’t happen but we were ready)

We did plan for the worse and the scenarios were quite frankly terrifying but we had to make sure we were clear what we would do if things went wrong. Nothing went wrong but we had involved partners to make sure we were all clear about who was responsible for each area. And areas that we could influence like planning your journey and booking your parking, we did. There was a lot of content which was shared by partners, local government and central government.

3.  Social media rules but get the tone right

Social media definitely worked and was key in the build-up. The media shared our messages as well as a lot of lovely local government comms officers – thank you! One of the learnings was that you can never tweet too much but also be human. Our most engaged tweet was about the bridesmaids and the pageboys looking cute – don’t tell anyone but we wrote that a week before the event.

We tweeted every four minutes from 6am until 7pm and got 700k impressions on the day – not surprisingly the most in the history of our twitter account. And during the week before the wedding we had 1.2million impressions on our twitter feed.

4. This kind of event is big, very big

We had a lot of stats and we all know the media love stats. The stats were impressive and when you look at them you realise the scale and enormity of the event. 

110,000 visitors.

140 ambassadors.

68 food vendors.

746 toilets

13 tonnes of waste collected by a team of 80 waste collectors from Urbaser and Veolia

1,000 tonnes of material was used to resurface town centre roads covering the equivalent area of two football pitches.

5. Don’t forget about the next day

We had put a lot of focus into the wedding but we still needed to show the clean-up. We managed to get photos out on social media but the press release went on Monday and probably missed a trick there.

6. Work with partners

I spent a lot of time working closely with Thames Valley Police and between us we steered the communications around the event. We set up a communications group which involved all our local partners to ensure that we shared messaging and worked together in the build up to the big day. This was key to a successful comms plan – working with partners was vital.

7. Team work

I certainly couldn’t have done all the communications for the event on my own. As I said in my tweet, I am immensely proud of the comms, marketing, web and tourism team as well as the extra helpers who made the communications a success in the run-up to the wedding and on the day. And we couldn’t have done our job without working in partnership with other teams in the council and our partners. It really was a team effort.

8. Be lucky

The sun shone, the crowds came out, everyone was happy. *Some* of that was luck.

Oh, and didn’t George look lovely!

Louisa Dean is communications and marketing manager at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

image via Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

Digital transformation is about mindsets, not skills

FutureGov has been designing better public services for the last ten years. We’ve learnt a lot, and one part continues to ring true — you can’t transform a service without transforming the organisation it sits within.

Transforming an organisation is fundamentally about working with people to help them do new things and work in new ways. There’s a whole industry built on workplace training with courses, curricula and training providers to fit almost any skills gap. But when it comes to digital transformation, this way of thinking falls short in several ways.

Traditional courses can’t meet the pace of change

The speed at which tech is developing moves a million times faster than learning curricula can be developed. By the time a course is written, never mind taught, it’s out of date. Software is constantly updated, so learning something once isn’t enough.

They teach the wrong things

If learning something once isn’t enough, we have to focus on teaching people how to learn. When a system is updated or a company adopts something new, it shouldn’t be a shock for employees. Adapting to new ways of doing things must be the norm. This presents a problem for a significant part of the training sector, in part because it’s doing them out of sellable courses.

When Citizens Advice moved from Windows to Google we ran it like a military operation. There was marketing, there was training, there were staff champions. It was a big shift. But after the initial move was done and the basics were covered, we focused on helping people to explore all the cool new things they could do.

Teaching people to move from Windows to Google (or vice versa, other providers are available 😉) is one thing. Helping them to feel confident Googling something every time their computer doesn’t do what they want it to is quite another. We had to help people understand that the answers were out there, and to feel confident that they could find the answer themselves and bring it back into the organisation for everyone’s benefit. This was a real shift in behaviour and thinking, which brings me to my next point.

We need to think about mindsets, not just skills

There’s a big difference between doing digital and being digital. To get people beyond the doing — using new digital tools and building digital layers over analogue systems — and towards being digital, they need to adopt new behaviours and ways of thinking.

At FutureGov, we characterise good digital services as having these qualities:

This is what good services do. It’s also how good ‘digital’ organisations, and the people in them, need to behave.

This mindset shift is big. It affects how you approach problems at a fundamental level. It helps people to explore what the internet can do in a really transformational sense. It’s a shift in mindset.

How do you teach a shift in mindset?

This is the question we’ve been tackling at FutureGov. You can’t really teach a shift in mindset. It’s not something you get from a textbook or online course. You get it from experiences. Seeing and feeling is believing. It’s also really important that it’s reinforced regularly.

I’ve seen too many incidents of great teams, working in transformative ways, crushed by the organisation in which they work. Sometimes it’s a project management office which doesn’t understand an agile way of working. Sometimes it’s a senior leader who wants to see the results but isn’t willing to take the risk. It’s not enough to bring a small innovation/digital/design team into an organisation and hope they’ll do they job alone.

You can’t change services without changing people’s mindsets. But you can’t change people’s mindsets without changing organisations.

Digital thinking for everyone

Digital thinking for everyone means taking digital behaviours beyond design or digital teams. It means bringing digital thinking into project management offices and corporate service teams. It means HR teams have to know how to support digital behaviours, and leadership teams need to understand how to create the environment where those behaviours can thrive.

Here’s an example. What would an expenses claims policy that embraces those digital behaviours look like? For a start, it would world on any device. Instead of carrying bundles of receipts, we could snap a photo to submit on our phones. It might ditch the rules on how much you can spend for co-designed principles and what responsible claims look like. And to make sure we stick to those principles, expense claims might be transparent across the company. Transparency makes the discussion between line manager and colleague checking easier and in the spirit of following principles.

Doing expenses like this stops people getting hung up on the minutiae of rules and helps them to see the bigger picture. It refocuses them away from process and onto outcomes. Most importantly, applies to expenses policy but it also applies to client facing services. It helps staff to experience the behaviours we expect them to work by.

FutureGov works with partners to do this kind of change in organisations every day. We’re also developing more structured learning programmes to help people across organisations get into the digital mindset. This is about learning through doing. We help teams learn this mindset shift while making changes in their organisation in both client-facing services and internal systems. We help leadership teams to understand what their staff are learning and, crucially, how they can support that change in small, symbolic as well as structural ways.

This is a shift culture and a shift in mindset. It’s what transformation is all about.


Throw away your corporate training plan was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

It’s ten years since I founded dxw. In that time, we’ve grown from humble beginnings to a full-fledged team of 40 brilliant developers, designers, product managers, delivery specialists, user researches, operations engineers and leaders.

As the scope and scale of dxw’s work has evolved, I have found myself drawn to the more strategic challenges that we and the public sector face. But the day to day running of dxw digital left very little time to consider these questions, or to plan for our future.

I’m also drawn to the idea of starting things. Our ambition is broad: we have big, hairy audacious goals! The next ten years of our journey won’t just be about digital service delivery. They’ll involve a broader set of services to help the public sector adapt to the new normal. I’m keen to get started on that work, and to make sure that dxw’s overarching strategy continues to align with our mission and values.

So, I’m delighted to announce that Dave Mann has taken over from me as dxw digital’s Managing Director.

Dave joined dxw in July 2015 as our Head of Strategy, with a remit to help the company grow and expand our portfolio of work. In the years since, he has gradually taken on more responsibility for the company’s day to day operations and performance. For the last year, we have essentially been running the company together.

This has given me the space to co-found dxw cyber, to work on dxw digital’s long-term business plan and strategy and to involve myself more in wider public sector thinking, such as TechUK’s Central Government Council.

dxw has a growing team, client work of significant scale and importance, strong financial performance and ambitious plans for our continued growth. dxw digital is now a mature business with its own culture and identity, empowered and capable management and a passionate team doing great work.

I’m very excited about our future. Here’s to the next ten years!

 

Original source – dxw

In 2012, along with Integrated Transport Planning (ITP), we created Collideoscope — a service based on our FixMyStreet Platform to map collisions and near misses between motor vehicles and cyclists.

Through a mix of imported Department of Transport Data and user submitted reports, the service highlighted potential dangerous hotspots before cyclists were killed or seriously injured.

Since the launch of Collideoscope, cycling has seen even more of an increase in popularity, and we suspect that there have been numerous new initiatives and campaigns developed to highlight and tackle the dangers faced by cyclists through insufficient provision of safe cycling infrastructure and dangerous driving.

So a recent approach from the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership (MRSP) was of great interest: they wanted to explore how we might revisit this task and determine if Collideoscope still has a role to play — or whether some other approach might be more beneficial.

Over the next three months, with the help of funding from MRSP, we plan to carry out a fresh discovery exercise to identify up to date user needs around collision prevention, and also determine how well served these issues are already by other similar initiatives around the country.

In addition to speaking to cyclists, campaign groups and safety experts, we’ll also be working with MRSP and in particular the Cycling Safety team within Merseyside Police to better understand how submission of reports can actually contribute to the development of actionable policy.

We’d also like to better understand the process of evidence submission, especially video evidence, in cases of near misses and collisions, and improve how that might lead to appropriate enforcement action.

For the moment we’re approaching all of this with a very open mind. We’re not going to assume that Collideoscope as it currently exists is necessarily the correct approach, and even if it does have a role to play we suspect it may need to be substantially altered to cater to any newly identified user needs.

Whilst this exploratory part of the project is going to be centred on Merseyside, we’re keen to hear from groups across the country and if you’d like to be consulted or participate in the research we would be keen to hear from you.

In the meantime, ride safe and we’ll update with progress reports over the next few weeks.

Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash

Original source – mySociety

Written by Kelly Earle

Your health is important. Your mental health is important.Your mental health in the workplace is also important.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the Mental Health Foundation is focussing on stress. For many, the most stressful place in our lives can be in the workplace. Ensuring we put in the time to get into the best headspace influences our work and influences those around us. Good mental health affects the way we work, the way we interact and the way we collaborate.

Coming to the workplace with a healthy headspace leads to increased productivity, high work quality, and better workplace safety. But still, almost half of all UK employees are staying silent on their struggles. Mental health starts with us and it starts with you.

I’ve compiled a few of the things I like to do to help stay healthy and stay accountable. Keep in mind — these aren’t happiness tips. But living a mentally healthy life will help you lead a happier life.

Resurgence in meditation

Meditation and mindfulness is the next trend in self care and healthy living. Meditation can be an important tool for handling stress, achieving clarity for better focus and creativity, and establishing a health work-life balance.

I tend to think of meditation in the caricature — sitting cross legged and saying Om over and over — which I realise is an simplistic view of a complicated picture. And that is one technique, if a little intimidating and unnatural to many of us. But starting is so easy. There is a great web platform and app called Headspace that is helping me on my own brand new journey through meditation. It starts really simply, with three minutes lessons focused on breathing. That’s it, breathe.

Team time

Us FutureGovers were fortunate to spend two days out of the office this week, coming together as a team. Spending time away from the office not only gets us away from the daily grind, but puts us in new physical spaces to come together as a group with focus and without distraction.

Team away days are an opportunity for team building, relationship discover, and clarity. This week was a reminder of the importance of seeking time to surround ourselves with good people. Get out of the office. Be creative, learn and support your colleagues to self-expression.

Healthy diet and exercises

Seems pretty obvious, yet the British Heart Foundation reports 20 million British adults lead inactive lifestyles. Getting up and getting out is the best natural answer for combating depression, anxiety, stress, trauma and so much more.

Physical activity immediately releases endorphins, and promotes neural growth. If you’re not used to exercising, start small by talking a walk during your lunch break or walking to the park with your kids or pet. I enjoy yoga for calming my mind and pushing my body.

Switch off

Life is not about notifications and likes, but social media will trick you into thinking it is. Turn off the devices, get away from the TV, and seek reality. Use this time to exercise, meditate and have meaningful conversations with the important people in your life. Trust me, you will learn to love the freedom.

Taking time for you

Taking time for myself is my favourite suggestion. It’s so important to have agency and use it to make intentional choices. I own my time. If I need to prioritise my mental health, I can create time for that commitment.

One of the simplest places I can create time is during my morning commute. Though I’m usually on a train or walking and surrounded by people, I can “switch-off” to meditate or listen to calming music.

But my most special way to take time is by taking what I call a ‘mental health day’. My mom introduced this option when I was in high-school and full of commitments and teenage hormones. A mental health day is a purposeful day to remove myself from stress and prioritise my needs. I will take a mental health day usually twice a year. And being honest, I usually let sick-day allowance accommodate these days. Because my mental health isn’t a holiday.

They’re never planned far in advance, because you never know when everything will combine into the imperfect storm. But they never cause a disturbance to my employer or my work. We don’t want to miss the important meeting or project or pitch. We want the space to be ready for it.

Check-in

Between all these tips, take time for deliberate check-ins with yourself. Take stock of where you are mentally. Knowing where you are is the first step to actioning change.

First and foremost, talk about it. It’s the only way to end stigma. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your GP.


Mental health in the workplace was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

This blog is written for anyone who loves digital (especially developers), for anyone who wants to do a job they love, for anyone who loves Sheffield (or loves the idea of Sheffield), and for anyone who is struggling to recruit developers.

I love living in Sheffield. It’s a proper city but it’s known as a village city – it has great theatres, great galleries, great pubs, and it’s only 10 minutes from the city centre to the Peak District. There’s so much going on, especially in the creative and digital space, and those working in this space are all so generous in passing on ideas and tips and linking you to the next person who might share your ideas and passions. House prices are cheaper than the South. (And I don’t work for the Sheffield Tourist Board!)

I love Good Things Foundation – we do such amazing work. Our vision is a world where everyone benefits from digital – and one of the best bits of working at Good Things is visiting the Online Centres and meeting the people who have been supported by our programmes – they may have now got a job, or said hello to a neighbour for the first time, or they are in contact with grandchildren far away, they always feel more in control of their lives, and as one man told me he “no longer feels like he’s at the bottom of pit of despair”. The hard lives people sometimes have get a bit easier – as they can now use the internet or speak English or manage their health – due to the work of Good Things and the Online Centres Network. And we’re now doing this in Australia and Kenya too. We’re mission led but we’re a staff led mutual and a great group of people – we support each other, we like each other, the team are incredibly talented, and we have great benefits, are family friendly, and have good holidays. All this and we’re also doing what we think is really exciting and interesting stuff with our technology stack! And we’re based in Sheffield.

So here’s the rub! We can’t always recruit developers. We have a Digital Team of nine people (plus one in Australia), and we’re growing. I know similar organisations to ours have a similar problem. It’s the pointy end of being a digital first charity based in the North I guess, but I’m sure it doesn’t have to be like this.

If you’re a developer and live in Sheffield or would like to live in Sheffield – at any level, with any set of skills – then we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to have a chat and a coffee and just see how you could fit into our growing team. Do get in touch, don’t be shy – if you’ve got 30 years experience or if you’re just about to graduate, really, we want to find great people with great digital skills who want to join us.

Check out our work and then email me helen@goodthingsfoundation.org and we’ll fix up a chat, and a chance to meet the team. Really you’ll love working for us and you’ll really love making great things happen.

Original source – Helen Milner

DWP Digital’s Send Your Fit Note service aims to make it easier for users to send DWP information about when they are unable to work.

A fit note is a document issued by a GP, Doctor or health professional which explains a patient has an illness or health condition which means they can’t work. DWP receives 4.5 million fit notes each year.

People claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) must send DWP a fit note as evidence to support their claim. Instead of sending these in by post or delivering them by hand to a Jobcentre, the Send Your Fit Note digital service lets claimants take a photograph of their fit note, upload it and submit it securely online in real time from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

This is easier and faster for claimants, eliminating any postal delays and helps DWP make ESA payments much faster, reducing stress and anxiety for people who really need support.

In this blog, members of the Send Your Fit Note team talk about how they collaborated with users and DWP colleagues to develop the service.

We involved Jobcentre staff right from the beginning

Alison Baines, business analyst:

Alison Baines, business analyst, DWP Digital

Alison Baines, business analyst, DWP Digital

“We ran the first trial of the service in October 2016 with ESA claimants in 9 Jobcentres and we continued to work closely with both users and colleagues in Jobcentres to iterate and improve the service.

We really worked at getting Jobcentre staff involved right from the beginning. We wanted to collaborate rather than give them a list of instructions. We also had sites volunteer to take part in the trials which was really encouraging and positive from the outset.”

Dave Lennie, business analyst:

“It really wasn’t hard to get our Jobcentre colleagues on board after we’d explained and showed them the service. Because users could now send the fit notes in from their phone or tablet, it meant fewer people visiting the Jobcentre just to hand them in, which in turn freed up staff time.

They understood the benefits this would provide and were genuinely excited to get the trial started. They were so receptive and proactive in promoting the service to our users.”

User research was key to improving the service

Matt Blackwell, content designer:

“Observing ESA claimants in jobcentres using the Send your Fit Note service in a real situation was critical to designing and improving it.

“I was impressed by the desire and enthusiasm of staff to encourage people to use the service, and to understand and feedback any difficulties they had. By doing this they helped us design something that really meets users’ needs.”

The Send Your Fit Note service

The Send Your Fit Note service

Andrea Feltell-Dack, user researcher:

“At first, our Jobcentre colleagues felt that some users may be sceptical about the service and that others may not have the technology to access. This helped us shape the messaging in the service, more specifically around using someone else’s device. Our fears were soon forgotten once they realised the benefits and their feedback continues to be glowing.

“Some of my most valuable research came through visiting the Foxton centre in Preston, where I spoke in-depth with and captured so much from our most vulnerable user group. This really helped shape our thinking behind the introduction of the desktop service.”

Developing the service helped the team develop too

Mark Bailey, delivery manager:

“The team really pulled together and integrated for the greater good. We had developers out in the Jobcentre meeting users and our researchers at the heart of conversations around robotics. This not only expanded our own skillset, it also ensured we kept the users at the heart of everything we did.

Mark Bailey, delivery manager, DWP Digital

Mark Bailey, delivery manager, DWP Digital

Everyone involved really embraced their role and showed real commitment to the service.

This way of working was also adopted by our Jobcentre colleagues with staff utilising their own experience to up skill fellow staff members on everything from using a mobile phone to creating posters and flyers.”

Dave Lennie:

“Working on the Send Your Fit Note service has given me an increased appreciation of how the BA role changes through the agile lifecycle and I feel I have gained valuable experience that I can take into future roles.”

Andrea Feltell-Dack:

 As a relatively new user researcher, working on the Send your Fit Note service delivered plenty of challenges but also gave me a wealth of experience and really helped me build my confidence.”

We learned from the metrics

Jim Montgomery, digital performance analyst:

“Through the collaborative working relationship we developed with the trial Jobcentres, we managed to create a solid, statistically robust trial to uncover the percentage of users who would take up the new digital service. We found that, if encouraged by their JCP, 57% of ESA claimants would opt for the digital service to send their fit notes.”

Jim Montgomerie and a colleague discuss Send Your Fit Note metrics

Jim Montgomerie (right) and a colleague discuss Send your Fit Note metrics

“In our work we used Google Analytics, a piece of software which monitored how our users interacted with the digital service. This helped us uncover user needs via a rich data source of every user who interacted with the digital service.

Through various iterations of the service, we made significant changes to functionality on the site which scans the user’s Fit Note and managed to increase the percentage of users completing the service from 48% to 61%. We also increased the percentage of users only needing to upload one photo from 46% to 59%. This analysis and insight helped to drive the work the team produced firmly from the needs of the users.”

What’s next?

Mark Bailey:

“The service has just moved into the beta stage, which means we can roll it out across the UK to more Jobcentres. Feedback from users so far has been really positive but support from colleagues in Jobcentres has also been really important too. Their passion and drive for the service was brilliant and we’re looking forward to working with more of them in beta.”

Alison Baines;

“I have a friend working in operations who is forever asking me when the service is going to land with them. She faces first hand the problem we are trying to solve and realises the impact it will have on her customers. It genuinely makes me feel extremely proud to be a part of what we are doing.”

Original source – DWP Digital

A little bit about myself and why I chose dxw…

Hi, I’m Kimmy,  dxw’s new Business Operations Intern. Having recently entered the workplace after spending time looking after my father I am now branching out and have enjoyed my first few weeks within a working environment. I have found that the work I do with dxw suits me well, the people are focussed, dedicated and hard working despite the relaxed atmosphere in the office and this is something that ultimately drew me to the role.

How did you find out about the role?

I’m a Thames Valley Housing (TVH) resident and I’d heard of dxw through their work developing MyTVH I am a huge fan of this service and use it regularly to pay rent and bills. The news that there is an app in the works is something that I find really exciting!

I found out about this role when I got in contact with the Thames Valley C.I. Officer who helped me shape my CV and gave me some assistance in my job search. They soon spotted an internship opportunity with dxw and the job specification stood out to me above all the rest so I decided to go for it.

Career goals? What does the future hold?

In October, I started a British Sign Language Course and my dream is to take more sign language courses in Russian, Chinese and more in order to set up and run my own sign language business. By taking courses in other languages I will have the opportunity to take the business anywhere and make it successful.

What’s coming up this year?/What are you looking forward to in the not-too-distant future?

Getting married in August!

What have you learnt so far?

I have learnt how to structure my work in a way that allows me to achieve more. This could be things like how to have a flexible timetable that allows me to be adaptable in my work whilst supporting the rest of the dxw team.

Any hobbies?

I love watching the snooker.

How have you found your first month in work?

It’s been unlike anything I expected! The people here are focussed and committed despite the lack of a formal  dress code. It’s a great relaxed atmosphere which is great to work in. I’m just looking forward to doing more with the rest of the team.

In terms of future progression I would like to do an excel training course, or even a Google Suite course to learn more about the systems used by dxw. In addition to this I would like to get to know more about all of the different clients that dxw work with to get up to speed with everything I have missed.

Original source – dxw

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