This week’s blog has a slightly different focus as a growing theme of conversations amongst our representatives from the lead councils and a challenge we have shared with other similar projects is involvement. We are so pleased to have had people from various councils involved over the different phases of the project but as time pressures ebb and flow – so does the active involvement level and the breadth of councils involved. The online repairs tool is a product being developed for the benefit of local authorities and the wider social housing market. It’s a large number of potential users and we would love to have additional viewpoints and councils feed in to help share knowledge and discuss direction to shape the service in the best way possible.
Questions and Answers around involvement
Q: We’re not planning on implementing the online repairs tool soon – can I still contribute?
A: Yes. We want to build knowledge of a wider range of processes to ensure that functionality developments are compatible with the widest range of Councils.
Q: We don’t use DRS for scheduling – will online repairs work for us?
A: At the moment online repairs integration is proven with DRS and ease of replication at Newark (also on DRS) during this phase. Long term we want to ensure online repairs is flexible to be implemented with a range of scheduling and housing management systems so would it would be great to discuss what systems you have and look at what’s possible.
Q: How much time would I need to invest?
A: How much time depends on how much you want to achieve. As an example, if you want to contribute and feed into shaping the service then you’ll be wise to aim to attend ad-hoc meetings such as user research reviews and product reviews – possibly only an average of an hour a week at most. If you want to be more heavily involved or implement the service then the time investment would increase.
Show and Share
This week’s show and share focuses on the Capita tech spike which identified the best method for the service to query qualifying properties and the feedback from the first session of the 3rd round of user feedback. I find the user research one of the most valuable aspects of this process as it shows us whether we’re approaching the service development in a way that is understandable to someone who has never used it before and potentially only has a limited level of confidence in using digital services. Particular thanks go to our two wonderful Tenant Engagement Officers are Newark & Sherwood District Council who have liaised with engaged tenants, arranged venues and supported Mel with the research days so she can conduct the research with a broad base of tenants and leaseholders.