Croydon teams up with 4 other councils on user research

From a Twitter post to planning a cross-council collaboration, all it took was some reciprocal admiration and friendly rivalry.  

Over the last 2 years, HackIT has become one of the leading local government teams embracing and implementing digital change within councils, and putting the users at the heart of what they do.

Our Croydon Digital team has just been born, but it’s our goal to catch up with them. We even have a poster for it!

A poster at CDS reading "Croydon Digital Service: Better than HackIT!"

Our friendly competition led to friendly conversations between our teams. I went to visit Richard and his amazing team in June, and we talked about the need for a network among the local authorities who signed the Local Digital Declaration.

We decided to create a cross-local government user research plan. Richard drafted an outline and reached out to other colleagues. The result was Hertfordshire, Kent and Essex County councils joining us! User researchers from each council got together on a Google Hangouts call to work out next steps.

Our plan so far

We’ll pick a statutory service and spend 2 to 3 months on user research to understand the end-to-end journey and user pain points. Each council will conduct exactly the same piece of research, developing shared discussion guides and methodology as a group. Working in this way has the bonus impact of creating space for us to participate in research sessions and fieldwork with each other.  

All of us will then report back our findings in the same way and get involved within a retrospective of their research and of the project as a whole. We’ll see whether we find similar insights or not. If there are differences, we want to find out why.

Our aims

  • Establish collaboration within user research teams in different local authorities, to develop new skills and techniques and share knowledge
  • Use the Hackney user research library to understand whether other councils could benefit from user research done by other local authorities 
  • Support previous work Essex County Council did with Futuregov to iterate their service pattern library
  • Investigate future collaboration and research opportunities, aiming at developing a user research group network 

Next steps

We’ve chosen to look at a user journey in adult social care. Every council representative will have their say on which task we’ll conduct research on, our timeline, and the technology we will use as a group. Ideally, we’re aiming at publicly presenting our findings by December 2019.  

We’re in the very early stages of this project. There is still a lot to discuss and assumptions to disruptIn the meantime, watch this space for updates! 

1 thought on “Croydon teams up with 4 other councils on user research”

Amy Newnham 2nd September 2019 at 7:36 am

This sounds really exciting! I’ll look forward to hearing about it as a blog follower 🙂

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