HIVE Digital Innovation

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

The fundamental issue to address as part of the project is to produce a one-stop-shop of all services across the city. Currently there are multiple databases and multiple service providers, from the statutory & voluntary sectors, often providing overlapping services. Equally residents and patients currently need to have an understanding of what they are looking for in order to find the appropriate service.

The primary objective is to produce a digital resource and self-serve portal that is far more than a simple combined database.

Our Discovery phase, Project Bridge, confirmed that the combined sector, plus overwhelmingly the residents surveyed, are all looking for an integrated solution without the need to look through many on line resources to track down the relevant service. Equally it has to be mobile, vibrant, expandable and have a ‘social media’ feel rather than a ‘dry’ resource.

The secondary objective is by combing resources under one roof, it will naturally lead to significant savings for all stakeholders, not just limited to local government, by freeing up time and money to provide the organisations’ core purposes.

The prototype product needs to encompass all these findings, including (but not limited to), searchable, suggestable, mobile enabled, self serve access to multiple agencies and services,  It is to be infinitely expandable both locally and potentially nationally and ‘owned’ by the communities it supports.

It is felt a new, dynamic and innovative solution is required to meet the project goals.

The project will be measured against the sector requirements, and monitored by the independent stakeholders to ensure compatibility and accuracy. Ultimate success will be evidenced by a live HIVE site, meeting all stakeholder and residents requirements, while being sharable and expandable to other organisations at little or zero cost.

Currently underway is a follow up detailed sector survey of requirements, this is due for formal publication by the end of December 2018. Following on from Project Bridge this is to conclusively identify the requirements and be able to write the digital specifications as a result.

This will also enable us to specify the final product exactly on what the residents and front line providers are telling us they need, and avoid falling into the trap of giving the sector what we think they want rather then what they actually need.

With this requirements document we can then go to the open market early in 2019 for initial quotations and scoping. Alternatively, a potential solution is again to work collaboratively with stakeholders and partners such as Hampshire County Council & Gosport Borough Council to design a product of wider remit from the offset.

Major milestones, all which will have publishable results and which will be monitored independently by the Stakeholder project board are:

Requirements & Specifications document

Request for Quotation document


Stakeholder testing

User testing

Soft launch

Primary launch

Successful sector adoption

Generation of analytical information, trends, usage levels & gap analysis

Adoption by additional authorities/organisations


The minimum direct cost saving would be in the region of £54k (1 FTE plus associated product licensing costs) per authority.


The indirect cost savings are estimated to be in the region of £70k once all call handling, call centre overheads, front line staff incidental duties handling over the counter enquiries, internal processing time and information gathering duties are considered, making a total of c£124k per authority adopting the same approach.

These figures are the absolute bare minimum.

Further savings could be achieved through the sharing of product licence fees. If a product is adopted for residents to fully self-serve, the need for any call centre is greatly reduced, so these figures can be increased proportionally to the savings, potentially in the region of £250k p/a.

The benefits do not stop there, however, as a suitable product could be rolled out across the sector, with voluntary, NGO, and charity sector buy in, potentially saving organisations who are currently publicly funded, significant amounts.

A new website & digital platform could be described as a toolkit due to its wide ranging connectivity and covering many historically separate social services. The toolkit would help all user groups and individuals across the sector.

The toolkit would dramatically reduce user time in searching multiple services and databases by collating all the local information under one banner. It is scalable to include national services later.

A significant benefit to users is the ‘one-stop-shop’ approach, negating the need to search multiple providers, not unlike current comparison websites by using that methodology and applying it to the public sector. Again the direct ‘self serve’ benefits are passed onto Local govt as cost savings.

Our Discovery phase was Project Bridge. Please see attached document as an example of the workshop process and some of the outputs discovered as a result. Further details available on request.

Project Bridge connected with local residents through detailed surveying and engagement techniques including electronic and face to face methods, both formal and informal.

Primary stakeholders, engaged through Project Bridge and now directly involved in the HIVE, include (but not limited to), PCC, Healthwatch Portsmouth, Age UK Portsmouth, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Gosport Borough Council, The You Trust. NHS Queen Alexandra Hospital , Citizens Advice Portsmouth, Portsmouth University and the Diocese of Portsmouth.


Additional organisations engaged with so far include The Wheatsheaf Trust, Red Cross, Southampton University, Royal Navy Welfare Team, Veteran’s Outreach Service, Salvation Army, Portsmouth Rotary and many local community groups and centres. Over 100+ groups and organisations have been identified so far as either stakeholders or receiving direct, significant, benefits of the HIVE.

This phase has also included looking at both commercially available local and national solutions. The most similar product was discovered to be the Genie software developed by Southampton University for clinical traige systems for local CCGs. A great deal of time has been invested in prototyping an updated version to see if it can be adapted to the social care world and become mobile compatible. Unfortunately early trials highlighted a few fundamental issues that would be cost prohibitive to resolve. A detailed case study will however be generated as a result of this work.

Focus has now moved on to  discussion with Hampshire County Council to investigate the overlaps between the HIVE project and HCC digital aspirations.


Collaboration is absolutely at the core of this project’s ethos. The goal is to ultimately end up with both a digital platform and physical location that is fully independent and collaboratively run. Discussions are already underway with both Gosport & Hampshire councils on how this vision can be expanded and developed into wider geographical areas, doing away with historic boundaries.

The primary driver is not necessarily to have a Portsmouth or even Local Government product, but something that can genuinely be adopted by anyone in the sector to provide benefit to individuals seeking to make informed decisions. We hope to provide the market research, prototyping and user testing of a national product. We hope this can show new ways of working, new partnerships, new developments and how collaboration can be achieved across the sector, often addressing historical differences and issues and proving by results that these are no longer relevant in the 21st Century.


Business Case

A full detailed business case is being produced as part of the HIVE initiative. Project bridge formed the initial market research and engagement in response to the highlighted issues. We have the formal requirements and specifications which form part of the over arching business case. This  enables us to work with partners, other Authorities, social enterprises or companies to build a new digital platform to these requirements. We are being guided entirely by what the residents and sector are telling us they need.

User Research report

This will fall into 3 categories:

  1. Project Bridge – the initial market research and findings
  2. The subsequent research and engagement to conclusively identify user needs and system specifications
  3. User testing including results and adaptions following on from this phase

Accessible product

The ultimate product is to be an independent resource, to be shared and ‘owned’ by the community. The business model is infinitely scaleable locally and nationally, from the Project Bridge phase to the end result.

The final platform is envisaged to have the adaptability and flexibility to allow users and community groups access to build their own pages and resources as well as linking to their sites, making the system naturally organic in nature and fully expandable.

It is to be intuitive in design, both for the user and administrators, plus have the option to be facilitator led for individuals who don’t have direct access to technology for a variety of reasons.

Conclusion phase

A conclusion document will be produced after the business case, highlighting the journey to date and the result of all stages. It will also be a resource for other organisations and Authorities to follow, highlighting the successes and pitfalls of the entire process. The reasons for the final digital product will be discussed at length.

Our users fall into 3 distinct categories:

  • Adults needing to make an informed decision about their independence and wellbeing, in any aspect of their life. For example, their health, care and support needs, education, work situation, social connections, housing, or safety. The toolkit will provide information and advice on options and sources of support, plus suggest alternatives if they are unsure of options.
  • Staff and volunteers working in the community, who are likely to have opportunities to support customers described above. The toolkit will provide resources to support their customers to make informed decisions, plus allow them to make professional connections within the sector. An example is a Police Officer dealing with an incident on the street and having immediate access to advice and guidance out of office hours and being able to pass it on immediately to the person in need with no layers of bureaucracy or multiple outside organisations.
  • Health and care commissioners. The toolkit will provide dynamic data on the market, what providers are currently operating, what customers are looking for, and where there are gaps in provision.

Once a prototype has been constructed, user groups will be set up in key locations across the city, possibility centred on the 14 community centres, and involving both residents and stakeholder organisations. Each will be run in isolation from the others to ensure clarity of results and allow any trends to be identified.

The subsequent results of the user testing will be collated and analysed to ensure any product is continuing to meet the requirements. Anomalies and issues can be document and addressed as they crop up, particularly as this will be a dynamic user testing phase (allowing on the move updates and changes rather than a return to base, fix, redeploy approach which is long winded and time consuming).

The core ethos of our entire project is collaboration, the breaking down of barriers (geographical, historical and operational) and the building of new and dynamic partnerships. All with the combined goals of producing a new digital platform that is genuinely user led and owned (through self service) and subsequently making significant savings to the public purse through combined working, new ways of working and sharing of resources.

We would not profess to be experts in the digital innovation field but we feel we have found a unique, modern and technologically cutting edge, solution.

We have, and will continue to, share all our findings with any interested partner and happily discuss the project with other local Authorities, irrespective of political preference, as ultimately this is about making a huge positive difference to individuals lives.

With this in mind we would welcome with open arms any help, support and guidance the LDCU can offer.

To date, no external funding has been applied for or received for any aspect of this project. All officer time research and engagement, has been funded directly by Portsmouth City Council and CCG.