Request a demo

Blog posts about events

Return to latest posts

SocietyWorks case study at SDinGov: speculative design for product decisions in anti-social behaviour reporting

SocietyWorks is going to SDinGov again this year, an international community event for anyone involved in designing and commissioning public services.

Taking place in Edinburgh next month, our Head of Product & Service Design Bekki Leaver will be sharing a case study on day 2 of the event, talking about our experience of how we used speculative design to reconsider whether we wanted to branch out into the area of anti-social behaviour reporting.

Over the last decade, we’ve been working with councils to design citizen-centred reporting services for issues in areas such as highways, waste and freedom of information. Anti-social behaviour (ASB) seemed like a natural progression from this, meeting demand from councils to address problems with reporting in this area. 

However, by nature, ASB is a complex issue, with disparate definitions depending on who you’re speaking to. Even with years of experience in user-needs focused design and consequence scanning, the complexity of this particular reporting area meant that we risked getting caught up in designing for one group of people, without truly considering the impact on other affected groups. 

For those of us designing for the public sector, it’s vital that we’re able to maintain the awareness to know when to pause for reflection, and that you have the design tools required to re-evaluate and decide whether to proceed or not.

Join Bekki to hear about the process we went through to reassess our perspective and how we used co-design future-casting to carve out the way forward.

Speculative design for product decisions in anti-social behaviour reporting takes place on 29 September at 12.15 – 12:45. 

SocietyWorks is going to the LGA Annual Conference 2022

We’re excited to be exhibiting at this year’s Local Government Association Annual Conference, taking place next month in Harrogate.

SocietyWorks will be based at stand Q21, right on the edge of the LGA Hub & Innovation Zone. If you’re interested in providing accessible, integrated and user-centred digital services for citizens, come say hello to us and let’s have a chat.

Floorplan of LGA Conference at the Harrogate Convention Centre, showing where SocietyWorks will be based

Who will be at the stand?

Amelia Nicholas, Business Development ManagerAmelia Nicholas, Head of Sales – Amelia joined SocietyWorks earlier this year and has really hit the ground running getting to know our public sector customers and helping them realise their digital transformation goals. Ask Amelia about our digital waste portal WasteWorks, which was recently shortlisted for a LGC Award.  

 

Clare Armiger, Account Manager – Clare will be joining Amelia in Harrogate. She has a wealth of experience working with local authorities, understanding their needs and helping to turn them into actionable projects. Be sure to ask Clare about ApplyWorks, our in development digital applications and licensing service for councils.

 

Sally Bracegirdle, Marketing & PR Manager – Completing the group is Sally, who helps the councils and other public sector organisations with which we work communicate effectively with citizens about their new digital services. She’s the one to ask about case studies for how we’ve helped our clients successfully introduce new and improved services.

 

The LGA Annual Conference takes place at the Harrogate Convention Centre on 28 – 30 June. You can find more information about the event and book your tickets here.

We’ll see you there!

FixMyStreet Pro user group, January 2022

Last week we hosted our first user group of 2022, bringing together our community of councils and public sector organisations using FixMyStreet Pro to show them our latest features, talk about new developments and give everyone the chance to influence what we work on next.

Here’s what happened on the day:

Recently added features

Kicking the event off, senior developer Dave Arter gave us a tour of some FixMyStreet Pro’s latest features.

These include improvements to the service’s case management functionality, which now enables council staff to filter reports and assign or reassign cases to inspectors. There’s also a new councillor access portal to FixMyStreet Pro’s heatmap, on which councillors can see at a glance where problems are being reported.

Meeting our new Service Designer

Bekki Leaver introduced herself to the group and shared some of the exciting things she’ll be working on over the coming months, such as evaluating and researching the user need for some new features, facilitating our Discovery workshops and progressing our ApplyWorks service, designed to streamline the way citizens submit applications and license requests. 

Bekki also put a call out to councils who want to help test some of our new features with residents. This call is also open to non-clients, so if you’re reading this and you’d like to be involved, please get in touch.

Client case studies 

Tracy Eaton, Product Owner for FixMyStreet at Buckinghamshire Council, delivered a brilliant case study about the improvements to citizen reporting that we’ve been able to bring about together so far (such as implementing accuracy-boosting asset layers and creating category specific acknowledgement messages), and the council’s plans for further transformation using FixMyStreet Pro (watch this space!).

We also heard from Mark Peet, Program Lead at Shropshire Council, who provided an insight into how we worked together recently to understand the views of local residents, councillors, and council staff at all levels and apply what we learned to the successful and speedy rollout of the county’s new FixMyStreet Pro service. 

 

Dave Arter, Senior Developer, presenting some of FixMyStreet Pro’s new features

 

Understanding what motivates citizens to report problems

Our Marketing & PR Manager Sally Bracegirdle gave us a preview of some soon-to-be-published research into citizen reporting in the UK: what makes citizens want to report problems; what puts them off and what do they expect from a reporting service?

The research was carried out in collaboration with YouGov and mySociety’s Research team. We’ll publish a blog post when it’s been released to the public – keep an eye out.

Parish and town councils 

There’s a lot of complexity in the way FixMyStreet directs reports to the correct place on behalf of citizens, automatically working out which tier of council is appropriate for a report. As senior developer Matthew Somerville demonstrated, there’s still one level of council that FixMyStreet is not yet able to serve: town and parish councils. Matthew talked us through why this is and our plans for making it happen in the future.

Reviewing the roadmap

Finishing off the event, Clare Armiger, our account manager, led a review of our client development roadmap, giving attendees the chance to vote for which of their suggestions for future development we should look to take through to user research next. The winning idea was to identify more opportunities to signpost to relevant public authorities wherever the council is not responsible for a report.

And that was our January user group for FixMyStreet Pro!

Would you like to come along to the next user group?

You don’t have to be a Pro user to attend our user groups; we’re happy for guests to come along, meet our community and see what the service is all about for yourself. Let us know if you’d like an invite

Image: Skye Studios

FixMyStreet Pro is going to Highways UK

We’re excited to be taking our much-loved digital reporting service for streets and highways, FixMyStreet Pro, back to Highways UK this year.

Taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on 3 – 4 November, Highways UK is the big expo for those working on the UK’s road infrastructure — from local authorities to contractors and regional transport bodies.

If you’ll be attending, stop by stand F72 to say hello to us and learn about how councils and highways agencies are using FixMyStreet Pro to streamline the defect reporting process, create huge savings through channel shift and provide a truly joined-up and transparent service for citizens.

Three members of the SocietyWorks team will be on the stand: David, Clare and Sally. They’re all on the exhibition app, too, so if FixMyStreet Pro is something that interests you, why not connect with them before the event and schedule a meeting?

Here’s where to find us at the event:

Floor plan for Highways UK

Until then, you can ask us any questions about FixMyStreet Pro here.

Image: Omer Rana

See you at the District Councils’ Network Annual Conference

SocietyWorks is proud to be sponsoring this year’s District Councils’ Network Annual Conference, which takes place on 21 – 22 October.

District Councils’ Network (DCN) is a cross-party member led network of 183 district councils and a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association (LGA).

This will be the first time we’re attending the conference, so we’re excited to meet everyone and introduce ourselves to the network.

We’ll also be introducing our new digital domestic waste service WasteWorks, co-designed with Bromley and Peterborough Councils. 

With citizens spending a lot more time at home during the last eighteen months, awareness of local authority waste services has never been sharper, so we’re keen to talk to attendees about how we can help councils to manage those rising expectations for on-demand access and fast resolutions. 

If you’re heading to the conference, do come over to our stand and say hello to David and Sally, who will be representing us on both days of the event. Grab a brochure for WasteWorks, or stick around for a chat about all things digital government, service transformation and giving residents the best possible customer experience.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about what we do, you can find out more here.

FixMyStreet Pro in London

FixMyStreet Pro’s ability to handle the complex routing of inbound street and highways reports really comes into its own in London.

With thirty-two different boroughs and multiple public authorities taking responsibility for keeping the Capital’s cogs turning, the process of reporting problems in London can be somewhat of a tangled web for residents that aren’t sure who’s responsible for what, and for councils whose teams and internal systems are working in silo, leading to more phone calls, more emails, more duplication of effort and slower response times. 

FixMyStreet Pro has the intelligent functionality to connect everything together for councils using the service, and automatically reroute reports from one authority to another – and it works at its best when everyone is using it to its full potential. 

That’s why earlier this week we hosted a focused workshop for our growing contingent of London-based FixMyStreet Pro customers to share best practice ideas for how to get the most out of the service and maximise user uptake.

London talking

Transport for London (TfL)’s Customer Services Delivery Manager Fola Olafare kicked things off by talking through how FixMyStreet Pro (known by TfL as Street Care) has been working for them since its launch in 2019, and their ambitious aims for expanding the service’s reach and impact over the next eighteen months. 

Fola’s presentation ended with a lively group discussion in which attendees from Hounslow Highways and the London Boroughs of Bromley, Hackney, Merton and Westminster bounced their best ideas around for accelerating channel shift.

Next up we heard two case studies on successfully establishing FixMyStreet Pro as your channel of choice for taking reports from citizens. 

Tracy Eaton, newly-appointed Product Owner for FixMyStreet Pro at Buckinghamshire Council, where 61% of reports are now being made via FixMyStreet Pro, spoke about the importance of making use of the service’s ability to feed detailed and transparent information back to citizens, and how, by using FixMyStreet Pro’s map asset layers, duplicate reports for related categories have dropped down to just 0.05%.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Richards, Business Support & Market Manager at Bromley Council, shared some insight into Bromley’s channel shift journey with FixMyStreet Pro, which now accounts for a whopping 94% of all inbound reports.

Intelligent routing of reports

For our final session of the workshop, SocietyWorks’ Senior Developer Matthew Somerville gave a detailed demonstration of what is, arguably, the most intelligent and useful feature of FixMyStreet Pro for London boroughs: its ability to display assets and categories that are the responsibility of another authority on the map, and to reroute any reports pertaining to those categories.  

This particular feature of FixMyStreet Pro reflects the key functionality of the national FixMyStreet.com service, which allows citizens to make reports to councils and ensures those reports go to the correct place. After all, most citizens don’t care about whether an issue is the responsibility of one council or another, and nor should they have to; they just want to make a report and receive updates about its progress.

The difference with the Pro version is that everything is integrated with councils’ backend systems, so not only do reports go to the correct place, but they also require no manual intervention from staff, and facilitate a seamless two-way transfer of data.

Take the London Borough of Bexley’s version of FixMyStreet Pro as an example. As well as allowing residents to select from a list of categories that are the responsibility of the borough, Bexley also displays categories for reports that need to go to TfL (eg. Abandoned Santander Cycles), if and when a resident clicks on the ‘red route’ area of the map. 

Red routes on Bexley Council's FixMyStreet Pro showing red routes on the map

Any reports made on a ‘red route’ will automatically be sent to TfL, creating a really smooth experience for the report-maker and saving Bexley the trouble of having to deal with an irrelevant report.

In cases where a report could still be the responsibility of TfL, but it’s not on a ‘red route’, FixMyStreet Pro will work that out and send the report to TfL instead of to Bexley. Take the example below, which shows TfL’s traffic lights asset layer displayed on Bexley’s reporting service, ensuring that the report will not only go to the right place, but gives the most accurate information when it arrives.

TfL's asset layers displayed on Bexley Council's reporting service

Vice versa, on TfL’s version of FixMyStreet Pro, Street Care, should a citizen go to make a report about an issue on a ‘red route’, they will be able to choose from a variety of categories, most of which are the responsibility of TfL, some of which aren’t.

For example, if a citizen heads to Street Care and tries to report some litter on the road, they will be advised that this report needs to be dealt with by the borough, and will be able to click through to the national FixMyStreet.com site where the report information will be carried over, causing no interruption to the report-making process. 

TfL's Street Care is powered by FixMyStreet Pro

Equally, if a citizen tries to report a problem via Street Care and drops the map pin on a road that’s not maintained by TfL, this will be explained clearly and, again, the report-maker will be able to click through to a pre-filled report on FixMyStreet.com.

Reports can be rerouted from TfL to the correct borough

It’s not obligatory for our London borough councils to display ‘red routes’ and redirect reports to other authorities, but Matthew’s demonstration provided ample inspiration for how transformational doing so can be to the user experience.

For London boroughs, FixMyStreet Pro is a powerful tool for channel shift and presents a crucial opportunity to join a community of councils and other authorities delivering a truly efficient and joined-up service. 

Image: Ashleigh Joy Photography on Unsplash

We’re taking WasteWorks to RWM

RWM is the UK’s largest Recycling, Resource and Waste Management event, bringing together individuals, businesses, and local authorities dealing with recycling, resources, waste, and the circular economy.

We’ll be exhibiting at the event for the first time this year to introduce local authorities to WasteWorks, our new digital waste management service that integrates with in-cab systems to transform the user experience and drive incredible channel shift.

If you’re one of the many local authorities heading to the NEC on 22 – 23 September, come and see us in the Local Authority Lounge (we’ll be at stand LA1) to grab a brochure, or stop for a chat to learn more about how WasteWorks revolutionises digital access to domestic, bulky and green waste services for your residents, your staff and your contractors.

On day two of the event, we’ll be co-hosting a seminar with our partners Yotta to discuss how, together, we help councils to streamline waste services, realise significant cost savings and deliver a truly citizen-centric experience. Transforming waste services for true citizen satisfaction takes place on 23 September at 11am in the Local Authority Lounge.

Who’ll be there:

David Eaton, Sales Director – With over a decade of experience helping councils and other public sector organisations across the UK to achieve their digital transformation goals via robust and responsible technologies, David’s the one to speak to about all your digital waste service needs. He’ll be around on both days of the event, and is looking forward to finally being able to meet people in-person once again!

 

Sally Bracegirdle, Marketing & PR Manager – Accompanying David at the event, Sally joined us back in December 2020, so RWM will be the first in-person exhibition she’s been to with SocietyWorks! Sally’s passionate about helping councils to close the feedback loop and deliver a fulfilling citizen reporting experience. Ask her about how WasteWorks facilitates first-rate communication between citizen, council and other line of business system teams.

 

Martin Wright, Designer – Martin will be joining David and Sally on the second day of the event, when he’ll be delivering the seminar with Yotta. Martin plays a crucial role in ensuring that all of our digital services are designed with citizens at the front and centre. As well as being a designer, Martin also undertakes much of our user research, making him the perfect person to talk to about delivering citizen-centric public services.

We can’t wait to get back on the road to in-person events – see you there!

If you’d like to learn more about RWM, visit the event website.

Image: Claudio Schwarz

Join our session at SDinGov

Next month is SDinGov (Service Design in Government, if you were wondering), a two-day conference that brings together a community of professionals involved in designing and commissioning public services.

This year’s event will take place virtually, and we’re thrilled to announce that our submission to host a speaker session has been accepted.

SocietyWorks will be represented by our designer Martin Wright, who will be taking his popular consequence scanning workshop out for a spin once again. 

During the workshop you’ll take part in a consequence scanning exercise with Martin and the rest of the group, in which you’ll design a fictional new public service for a local authority and help to ensure that its launch doesn’t turn into a costly PR disaster. 

By the end of the session, you will know how to predict, assess and mitigate any potential negative consequences of your future public service design projects.

Martin has run variations of this workshop a couple of times now, so if you’ve missed out before, now’s your chance to see what it’s all about.

Consequence scanning – an exercise you can use when designing new services at SDinGov will take place on 16 September at 10.30am – 11.30am

See you there! 

Find out more about SDinGov here.

Webinar: Scoping out a successful citizen service: how to get started

Thank you to everyone who joined us on what was an extremely hot afternoon last Thursday for the first in our new series of webinars for local authorities. Scoping out a successful citizen service: how to get started was an exploration of the best way to get started when designing or redesigning an online service for citizens.

Leading the session, our designer and user researcher Martin Wright plotted the route from discovery to successful service uptake, highlighting the importance of carrying out consequence scanning and advising on how best to balance resident requirements with council capacity.

We were also joined by Bromley Council’s Technical Support Team Manager Jonathan Richards, who spoke about Bromley’s recent experience of designing and implementing a brand new online waste service for residents.

If you weren’t able to join us but you’re interested to know what was spoken about, you can watch a recording of the session below, and if you have any questions about anything that was discussed, let us know and we’ll get back to you with an answer!

Full video:

 

Stay updated on our upcoming webinars by signing up to our monthly newsletter.

Join us for a new series of webinars for local authorities

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of a brand new series of webinars for local authorities all about getting online citizen-facing services for the public realm right for you and for your residents.

After over a decade designing citizen-centric services with councils, this webinar series has been brewing for a while, and we’re pleased to have arrived at the right time to make it happen and more widely share the many lessons we’ve learned along the way, at every stage of process – from discovery to implementation and beyond. 

The series will take the form of regular, hour-long virtual events that will bring together experts from within SocietyWorks and the mySociety team, along with special guest speakers from across local government and the wider sector. Each webinar, we’ll hone in on a different aspect of public realm service design and delivery, discussing real-life experiences and sharing best practices.

And where better to start than at the beginning? 

For the first webinar, our Designer and User Researcher Martin Wright will be sharing his advice on where to start when it comes to building or redesigning a service for citizens. With help from some special guests, he’ll be discussing how to balance council and resident requirements, why consequence scanning is a must and ways you can encourage positive resident uptake.

Scoping out a successful citizen service: how to get started will take place in July. Find out more and register your free place

 

Get involved

Do you have a story to tell or some advice to share about how local authorities can perfect public realm online services? We’d love to have you as a guest speaker – tell us more here.

SocietyWorks blog

Catch up with all the news and goings on from SocietyWorks, experts in digital reporting services for local government and the public sector.

Stay in the loop

Be the first to know about SocietyWorks launches and events, surprising stats, and new feature developments.

Join our newsletter

Schedule your one-to-one demo

Request a callback