This week it feels like our projects have really been ramping up. Luckily we’ve brought in some extra help to make sure it’s not an uphill struggle.
Our project team grew a little this week with Lottie joining as the accessibility Content Designer. This role is really important. She’ll be working with website owners to assess the accessibility of their web content and helping them to understand how they’ll need to change it.
There's a number of new websites and features being developed across the Essex web-estate. We’ve been getting involved to make sure accessibility is a consideration from the start. This week we’ve been looking at 3 sets of early-stage designs and feeding in our comments. By doing this we’ll avoid having to make accessibility fixes late on as projects near delivery.
We’ve been looking at feedback from the Tech Services and Comms and Marketing teams who took part in SiteImprove training last week. They’ve flagged that while they’re happy using the checking tool now, there’s some confusion about the process for working together within the accessibility project. We’re taking this away to work out how best to address their concerns.
It’s been another interesting week of learning with a focus on setting up research opportunities, getting data to overlay on our mapping and reaching out to other local authorities to understand their approach to financial assessments.
We made a brief presentation to the Adults Leadership Team this week to help them understand the value of this work and the importance of us getting a balanced view across the wider financial assessment ‘system’. We talked through our approach and the work we’ve done so far and picked up some links to other ongoing work which we’ll continue to explore.
We attended a financial literacy training session that is being piloted with social workers through the Essex Social Care Academy - part of the Sustainable Futures programme. It was really useful to see which areas the training focused on, and to hear the questions that were asked and listen in as case studies were worked through. We also dropped in on a social work team in Clacton who shared some of their experiences which is helping us to get a much richer understanding around some of the challenges and areas of opportunity.
Our other main focus this week has been on data to help us understand how people come into and move through the financial assessment service. We’re following a few areas of enquiry but unfortunately we’re learning that there are often difficulties reporting across the ‘people’ information in Mosaic and the ‘package’ information in A4W, and a lot of critical information is recorded in free-text fields which doesn’t allow for easy reporting. There’s lots of improvement work underway to make things better, but in the meantime we’re having to work with what we can get.
We’re doubly lucky to have two fantastic new starters this week.
Lino’s arrived fresh from the Parliamentary Digital Service to take over as Content Lead. He brings with him a boatload of content experience, and is sure to be powerful advocate for user-centred design across the organisation.
Lottie’s hopped over from Comms to lend us a hand with the accessibility project. Her content expertise and knowledge of the council’s web-estate are going to be invaluable in our quest for more accessible content in Essex.