Welcome to our new blog which will tell the story of how we are working to improve WECIL services by exploring Digital technology.
We are starting this blog as a way to ‘Work in the open’, which is a new concept to myself.
WECIL have always been open about the work we do, but the idea of ‘Working in the open’ is to communicate what we are doing and learning as we are doing it, mistakes and everything.
We hope by working in this way the project will get buy-in from WECIL staff and stakeholders and get input from our users and other interested groups. Hopefully it will also aid us in gaining funding for implementing any digital solutions in the future.
Working in this way will allow us to benefit from the work of others and others will benefit from what we share about what we are doing and learning.
How did we begin his journey of Digital discovery?
For everyone 2020 was a year like no other.
Overnight WECIL went from being a charity that worked face to face with its community to one that delivered all of its services remotely.
For the most part WECIL has adapted well to the new way of working. Although we are all looking forward to the day we can physically meet with people again.
Much of WECIL success in the last year has been our readiness to adapt and embrace new opportunities.
One such opportunity led to WECIL embarking on this digital journey the subject of this blog.
Catalyst Digital Funding
In the Summer of 2020 we found out about some funding available to help Charities look into digital solutions to help them during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
All of our operations had moved over to Digital at the start of lockdown in March and it was clear that this way of working was going to be part of our future whatever happened with the Covid-19 pandemic, so we were really keen to explore better digital solutions.
We were successful in our funding bid and in Autumn 2020 we participated in a 4 week Digital Discovery Program run by Catalyst a charitable initiative https://www.thecatalyst.org.uk/ which helps the voluntary sector make better use of digital technology.
The Discovery Program was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/
and involved WECIL working in a Cohort with 10 other charities all exploring what digital technologies could do for them.
We were supported through this process by Third Sector Lab https://thirdsectorlab.co.uk/ a Digital Agency that specialises in working with Charities
Open Change https://www.openchange.co.uk/ a consultancy that helps organisations navigate change.
For the program we concentrated on how things were different for New Direct Payment users during the Covid pandemic.
Pre Covid-19 the on-boarding of new users involved face to face visits to explain Direct payments and complete the signup paperwork. During our user research it was clear that completing paperwork remotely was proving very difficult during the Covid Pandemic.
We came away from the Discovery Program with the idea that we would like to develop a digital interface for on-boarding new users and the same technology could provide a portal for ongoing correspondence.
Lots of other industries have adopted digital systems for onboarding customers, think about when you take out a Mobile phone contracts, buy Car insurance or open a new Bank accounts.
We also thought digital on boarding interface could be used for all services and not just Direct payments.