Engaging Citizens Online
Series of ten briefings
When done well, online self-service for social care can deliver a diverse range of positive benefits, including improved outcomes for service users and carers, better management of demand, better quality interactions with council services and potential cost efficiencies in meeting the capacity challenge.
Commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA UK) and developed in partnership with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Socitm, a series of ten easy-to-read briefings is being produced over the next four months on different aspects of self-service; providing both guidance and evidence from case studies to support digital adoption.
They are designed for senior managers with responsibility for public engagement as well as social care informatics leads and web managers.
Via the full series of ten briefings, Public and NfP sector organisations will be better equipped to embed digital as part of wider service transformation programmes, leading to more efficient and joined-up care, health and public service processes as well as greater levels of satisfaction from citizens, service users and professionals.
Briefing 1: Identify and authentification
Self-service relies on trust between the customer and the provider. Confidence about the identity of the person at the other end of an electronic transaction is critical to developing trust in the system.
Ever since the days of local e-government in the early 2000s, having a secure process for identity and authentication has been the holy grail for establishing long-term trust. As providers of social care information, advice and services, local authorities are planning for an upsurge in online demand.
What steps should be taken for handling user identities for online social care?
Briefing 2: Methodology for developing the online user journey
Self-service only works if it really is easy to use. If online facilities are hard to use, or do not give the whole answer, then people will give up. Even worse, they will then try much more expensive offline channels such as the phone to find the information. They may also be disinclined to try online again.
Getting it right covers many different things, such as the careful choice of words, intuitive navigation, an information architecture that reflects user needs, a search engine that works really well, and, if you have one, an A to Z index that also works well. Alongside this is a commitment to ongoing user testing and analytics of use, all backed up by a management team that really understands why all these factors are critical. In short, writing for the web is a specialist skill and the organisation should be passionate about ensuring the best possible user experience.
Online social care suffers greatly from poor usability, with a few exceptions. How can this trend be turned around?
Rest of series (from March 2016)
3. Business case for digital investment
4. Planning online transactional facilities
5. Supplier offerings of social care self-assessments
6. Supplier offerings of social care financial assessments
7. Examples of effective use of national information sources
8. Examples of good practice of e-marketplaces in operation
9. Promotion of online services
10. Role of third sector and care providers