Dorset County Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Not shortlisted

We were asked by Children Services to provide a solution to improve communication to parents during the Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) process to reduce failure demand, and move to full electronic recording to enable the team to work flexibly.  They wanted an ‘app’ for parents.

As part of our digital strategy we are taking a design led/agile approach and are trying to move people back from being solution driven to understanding the problem first.  Using an external company for support and knowledge transfer, over a period of 5 weeks we completed the discovery phase.

This phase exposed a range of problems from differences in understanding the purpose of the process and the roles and responsibilities within it, lack of / poor communication and challenges with the existing technology.

We now want to design and test a new journey, prototyping and incrementally improving this area of work.  This work is supported by Dorset Council CEO, Matt Prosser.

Discovery evidence

During discovery we used a collaborative user centred approach.  20+ members of the SEND Team, 4 professionals, 4 Schools and 7 parents of children who have either gone through or are going through the process were engaged and a mixture of elicitation techniques were applied.

We have identified 4 “quick win” areas:

  • 1 – Focus on the pre assessment information & guidance on our Dorset for You website;
  • 2 – Simple request for assessment online form;
  • 3 – Service communication and progress update solution
  • 4 – User feedback channel

We are currently considering the prototypes we use to test out our hypothesis, this includes improving letter content, web content, use of gov notify, changes to the Synergy system, using other collaboration tools to support the process, using an external company to help us.

We’re currently in the process of forming a multi-disciplinary team to complete the content design, technical design and those to test the prototypes (parents/young people).

  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Digital and agile awareness
  • Introduction to user research
  • Introduction to service design
  • Introduction to delivery management
  • Introduction to product management
  • Introduction to digital business analysis
  • Agile for teams