This week was Public Sector Insight Week 2023 – an annual event dedicated to bringing together government and businesses to help each other use digital more effectively.
As part of the event, our managing director Angela Dixon delivered a best practice session on closing the feedback loop between local authorities and residents.
Closed feedback loops are essential to building trust, managing expectations and increasing efficiency.
In our twenty years of experience working within the public sector, we have seen how difficult it can be for councils to keep feedback loops closed, with over-stretched budgets, the transient nature of local authority staffing and a multitude of different systems used for dealing with different issues.
Angela spoke about the common problems local authorities in particular face when feedback loops are broken, how to fix them effectively and shared some of our lessons learned from our experience of helping to bridge the gap between citizens and the public sector with innovative open-source digital solutions.
If you couldn’t make it to Angela’s talk, but you are interested to hear what she had to say, you can watch the full session on YouTube.
If you’re heading to the event, stop by stand J7 for a fresh, barista-made coffee and learn all about FixMyStreet Pro, our map-based reporting service for street and highway issues, built on the national FixMyStreet website, launched by our parent charity mySociety in 2007.
Since 2012, FixMyStreet Pro, the fully integrated version of FixMyStreet, has been enabling councils, local government bodies and highways agencies to improve the way they take and manage reports from citizens about problems such as potholes, blocked drains and broken street lights.
Ask us about how FixMyStreet Pro can help you to, among other things:
There’ll be a few members of the SocietyWorks team at Highways UK – why not connect with them on the event app and schedule a meeting?
Here’s where to find us on the day:
See you there!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
We’re very happy to be sponsoring this year’s virtual Local Government Association Annual Conference: three days of online talks from leading central and local government politicians as well as expert speakers from within and outside the sector.
Three lovely members of the SocietyWorks team will be there (virtually, of course) on 6 – 8 July, so do say hello whenever you see:
David Eaton, Sales Director – David has helped councils across the UK improve their customer experience, create incredible savings and drive channel shift via smart digital services for everything from highways and waste to FOI and noise. Ask him anything about setting up a new reporting service for your residents; he will have the answer.
Mark Cridge, Chief Executive – In addition to leading activities at our sister civic tech organisation mySociety, Mark has been instrumental in the launch of SocietyWorks and our suite of citizen services. Passionate about putting citizens at the heart of local authority services, Mark’s the one to talk to about all things digital transformation in local gov.
Sally Bracegirdle, Marketing & PR Manager – One of SocietyWorks’ newest team members, Sally joined in December 2020 and has spent her first few months on the job setting up lots of ways to share our expertise in the sector – one of those ways being attending this conference! Ask Sally about how to use internal and external communications to deliver a successful online service for citizens.
We’re looking forward to hearing from some fantastic speakers at the conference and chatting to people who share our interest in providing accessible, efficient and exceptional digital services for citizens. Hope to see you there!
In the meantime, ask us anything about citizen-friendly local authority services.
This Thursday 21st January marks the start of UKGovCamp, an unconference that takes place every year and brings together people from across the public sector to discuss how technology can, and does, improve civic services.
It’s an event that the mySociety team has really enjoyed being involved in previously, but we’re extra excited this year because our very own designer Martin will be running a session on consequence scanning. He’ll be taking attendees through a mock consequence scanning exercise, much like those we run while developing new SocietyWorks services for councils, and teaching them how the method can be used to predict, assess and mitigate any potential negative consequences.
Martin’s session will be familiar to anyone who came to the similarly-named LocalGovCamp conference towards the end of last year, where he first ran it. Based on its success there, as well as how helpful consequence scanning has been for us as an organisation, Martin’s keen to help as many people as possible discover this great method – so if you missed out last year, now’s your chance to get clued up.
The session will take place virtually at 1.45 PM on Thursday 21st January – we hope to see you there!
Image: Compare Fibre on Unsplash