Weeknotes 14-18 October

You don’t always have to travel very far to get some perspective, which is lucky because our team away day this week was more of an office stay-cation.

Still the break from our normal schedule gave the team time to come together and reflect as we sketched out our bold vision for the team’s future.


This week Caroline M’s been thinking a lot about the internal guidance we have on accessibility and the best way to consolidate it, and I’ve been finessing our guidance on forms.

Hannah’s been on some very impressive-sounding training and also pulling together a first draft of a kick-off presentation for stakeholders involved with our forms work.

Financial assessments

We started this week with a show and tell session, where we walked through our initial high-level mapping of the internal financial assessment processes, inviting comments and feedback from attendees (slides are attached). Colleagues are helping us to uncover lots of improvement activity that’s already happening around the various teams, systems, and programmes. We will be working to understand more about this next week so that we can make sure we’re focusing our attention in the right areas.

We also shared our emerging research plan for this sprint, which includes areas of focus around internal research (the experience for teams, activities, handoffs and correspondence), user research (the experience for service users), tech research (how information flows and how the systems support teams) and some peer research (how others manage these activities). Lots of lovely learning to be done!

We’ve shadowed a financial assessments officer and listened to some calls with the contact centre team. This has already helped us to understand more about the real-life impact of some of the pain-points the teams have identified. Our main ‘gap’ now is the ability to speak with ASC practitioners and service users directly - we’re hoping to make more progress on this next week and would appreciate any suggestions for how we can bring these vital voices into our research.

Caroline A continued with her discovery work  looking at  comms adults receiving social care get.

We also took part in a call listening session, hearing people phoning in with queries around their financial assessment and paying for care, which was really illuminating.


The team continued collaborating with Business Analysts in Tech Services on the ‘book an event’ pattern.

This is now available as a file that describes the perfect journey for booking an event complete with tech considerations and things service areas need to consider when building this.

Georgiana’s writing it up as a text document that explains the diagram a little bit better and that can be used by services alongside the diagram.

Caroline A finalised the planning and development sections and Hannah’s published some more pages in the services we sell section.

Georgiana, Magda and Ben synthesised the outputs from 10 user interviews with Essex residents on the ‘find a childcare provider’ app and the ‘school transport’ app.

Sheila, Caroline M and I started our 3 month reviews of some of the highest-traffic areas of the site.

Sheila, Ben and Helen developed and planned some user research activities for the Essex Highways microsite. This will include face-to-face usability testing to understand how people use the site, as well as click tests to investigate navigation.

Adult social care

The team worked to get the step-by-step ready for user testing next week. This version hasn’t been tested yet and it’s going to be really interesting to see whether people are finding it helpful.

Team highlight

At our away day Ben introduced us to the joy of sketching as a quick, fun and creative way to express ourselves.  It’s been said a picture’s worth 1,000 words. By end of the day we’d defaced well over 1,000 post-its, so that must be worth something.

We also welcomed new team members Julie and Greg, who will be joining us shortly, as well as getting some final insights and gentle nudges from leavers Georgiana and Matt.

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