Our work with Hackney Council began in response to difficulties that had arisen in community and cultural signposting for older residents. The council’s capacity for administering their free membership and communication service for older residents, Hackney Circle, active since 2014, needed to be increased to ensure the quality of service could be maintained.
The new system we co-created using Hoop'd is now supporting both its users and its owners in creating more accessible forms of information; increasing engagement success and significantly broadening the range and reach of the membership. It has also streamlined the processes involved in capturing event based information from a growing network of over thirty cultural, community and voluntary sector organisations from across the borough.
The creation and management of this network is important for two reasons:
Firstly it resolves issues in the regular and uniform communication of Hackney Circle's core offer to its members. Overcoming several of the problems that had been restricing the quality and the growth of the service.
Secondly it enables Hackney Circle as a product the ability to generate and offer its own data set as a source of accurate and up-to-date local area information to front line local authority staff; as a stand alone service, as well as through integrating with the existing products being used.
The case for investing in hyperlocal and niche signposting
The digital development of Hackney Circle has therefore enabled the service to both improve and amplify its offer, whilst cementing its role in the delivery of key strategic priorities and initiatives for the borough. Web-services are now being developed for Hackney Circle to be able to share its data set with the council's existing Find Support Services and Better Conversations products.
Calcultating the return on investment into the digital transformation of this niche, hyperlocal service will be a major step in transitioning Information, Advice and Support Systems (IASS) into more digitally sophisticated products.
Recognising the role of signposting organisations, and providing them with the right tools to represent their communities effectively and share information, marks a distinct point in the evolution of shared systems and more dynamic directories, improving the quality and efficiency of service provision. Digital investment into strategically important local organisations is the first step towards transforming the delivery of frontline services.