|In a discovery project at Hackney Council we analysed our process for handling Freedom of Information and Subject Access Requests.
We’ve used the results to commission an open source front-end service that provides a simple user journey for members of the public for making FOI requests. The service highlights existing information that may meet the user’s need in order to prevent unnecessary requests and save costs. We also procured a closed-source commercial case management system in order to meet our immediate requirement for a back-end solution.
We want to work with other councils to conduct some further discovery and an alpha project looking at the user journey for council staff who manage and respond to FOI and SAR requests in order to understand how a digital solution and data standards could better support their needs and allow them to handle requests from the public more efficiently.
We’d like to develop an alpha of the end-to-end open-source solution that includes reporting, and subsequent publishing of non-personal requests. The four partner councils listed above would like to explore this approach with us. This would be of immediate use to multiple councils across the UK.
We analysed the process information governance staff follow in FOI and SAR handling, to understand how they receive and process requests, what challenges they face, and where the opportunities are for improvement in process and technology. We’ve produced process maps, and conducted interviews with key staff.
We worked to implement process improvements and changed our digital services. We replaced multiple back end systems with a single commercial case-management solution and worked with a supplier to prototype and iterate a front end solution to meet the needs of members of the public who want to make FOI requests – described in https://www.mysociety.org/2018/02/09/making-better-foi-requests-in-hackney/ and
The process of commissioning and using a commercial case-management system and prototyping a front-end has confirmed our belief that there are areas where our work could be better supported by a user needs driven iterative approach.
Unmet needs currently include notifying staff of new actions needed, support for different staff roles and their needs for different views of the process, more efficient handling of complex requests, and better reporting to support insight into process improvement e.g. via training on exemption use.
- Introduction to delivery management
- Introduction to product management