Equipping in-house service designers.
Haringey Borough Council in North London faces a severe homelessness challenge. Over 5,000 households currently live in Temporary Accommodation, mainly in homes leased from private landlords. The Council wants to reduce this number by half by 2011. Haringey also wants to improve the services it offers to people while they are in Temporary Accommodation, ensuring residents know about, understand and make use of the options available to them; including encouraging them to bid for permanent homes using the Council’s choice-based lettings service.
With Haringey Council we decided to create a multi-disciplinary team to develop new ideas for housing services. The team covered a wide range of people and specialists from housing staff, managers and also improvement and policy officers. We facilitated workshops with the team that gave them a solid method and process for engaging residents and applying the insights they gained to create, test and define solutions to the housing issues outlined above. The team created over 100 ideas that were synthesised into four key concepts that were tested with stakeholders and presented to the Directorate.
Haringey housing services are moving forward; engaging community groups and schools in housing awareness, developing a ‘housing life plan’ for their customers and a ‘points’ calculator on the housing website. The project has also informed the development of a shift in services towards a real choice for households that will reduce the time they spend in unsatisfactory housing and increase their chance of a secure home.
Twelve months on Haringey are on schedule in their task of reducing the number of people in temporary accommodation saving them significant costs. They also found that the project engendered a vital culture change within the housing team who are now much more prepared to listen to, consider and act on the issues faced by their residents.
For the future Haringey Council now have a group of twelve people who have tried and tested a service design approach and will be able to ensure that their services are more customer centred in future.
“We found livework’s «service-design» approach very helpful and productive. It offered us new forms of customer insight and new, and easily achievable, ways of improving services. There is a real appetite here to apply service design principles to other services, and embed them in the way we work.
– Ben Rogers, Head of Corporate Policy”
March – May 2008