North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire County Council

Social Isolation Response- COVID 19

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

The social isolation work stream was set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to support vulnerable citizens and those in social isolation through the pandemic. The overarching outcomes were:

– No vulnerable person goes hungry during the pandemic
– Vulnerable people have access to key requirements such as heating, broadband and energy
– Vulnerable people and support organisations know where to go to access help
– The process for accessing help is as streamlined as possible

This mission brought NYCC and partner organisations together without politics or agenda to support people in the county in a unified, cohesive fashion. It was a full team effort to set up and many people pulled together to work innovatively. This included the development of new services:

– Community Support Organisations (CSO) model
– The new Universal+ service
– Outbound calling to vulnerable residents
– Prescription delivery
– Coordination of the Yorkshire Post delivery
– Door knocking to vulnerable/shielded residents
– Data mapping
– Implementation of the Tribe volunteer app
– Support for food banks and links with supermarkets.

This involved a number of teams across North Yorkshire county council including; Stronger Communities, Customer Service Centre, Corporate Systems Team, Data & Intelligence, Projects & Programmes, Corporate Comms, Business Support Service, Unified Communications and Security, Data Governance, Social Care teams, Living Well.

Key aims and objectives;

– Simplifying the experience for customers
– Clear and consistent comms
– Scripting – to ensure consistent and informed experience
– Pro-active outbound call campaign (and digital campaign to the changes in shielding)
– Delivery through CSOs – local delivery to meet local need
– Work with Districts to ensure a joined up approach
– Making the customer experience more accessible
– Ensured the service was accessible to all including online, Telephone and face to face model.
– Analytics to identify vulnerabilities and likelihood of digital inclusion
– Yorkshire Post campaign and use of Tribe – ensure information and communications to meet the needs of people who were shielding
– Out of hours services through U+

Making the experience more connected with other services;

– Brought together work of NYCC staff, district councils, fire service, volunteer groups, CSOs, NHS/CCG services, community transport and central government into one process
– Internally linked to stronger communities and HAS via U+ and CRC
– Buy Local- business directory for self help
– Making the experience quicker for customers
– Proactive call campaign

What are the key achievements?

We needed a large-scale local response to the national shielded programme; there was huge amounts of data and communications to be managed between varieties of organisations and had to implement partnership working with many different organisations. The idea that was driven out of necessity, however the data & digital approach was led by the D&I team. The customer team led in the end-to-end design to ensure it aligned with our principles and were able to tap in to existing practices and technology.

We needed an innovative response, expanding the provisions we already make for the citizens of North Yorkshire; Brought together service delivery from a number of agencies into one model in response to COVID. Over 2 million bits of data were shared from districts, CCG’s, the Fire service and NYCC to help identify and plan the support.

– Used innovative technology like volunteer apps, power BI/data analytics/data consumption. Carried out an outbound telephone campaign, at scale, and alongside delivery of other services.
– Created a new team (u+) and the technology to support the team.
– Used volunteers in a model that hasn’t been used before

All this was delivered in a true, agile & iterative approach; issue resolution and collaborative working adopted. Issues with the model were amended as we learned more about how we would distribute the lists. There was continual reviews and refinement, to make it slicker and more efficient while still delivering the required outputs. In terms of what was achieved; Data was an important aspect to the successful delivery, along with effective working with partners to achieve a common goal. This was received positively and a combined hope that more work like this can be done in the future. We used data to put live a fully multi-channel, multi partner distribution of contact management with real-time identification of risk and same-day escalation of concerns to CSO’s. We knew exactly who had been called and when, when people needed a new call and when they were added to the list.

We sent over 40k SMS messages, nearly 25k letters, made around 140k calls and carried out over 2,500 door knocks/face to face conversations. The CSC triaged effectively which helped to identify other needs as lockdown progressed; this would then indicate where other support needed increasing e.g. reviewing the hardship element under the local assistance fund. Customer feedback was positive, customers were complimentary of the contacts made but equally where customers were telling us they didn’t need the contact we were able to ensure that customers didn’t get any further calls. CSOs have worked with residents to allow them to regain independence using services that were developed, to hopefully reduce future needs should a further lockdown occur. The success is shown through the amount of people that we helped. Between April and Aug 2400 – 4000 people received help a month, 200 – 700 prescriptions were delivered and 400 – 1000 shopping deliveries made.

What are the key learning points?

Data sharing with partners did and continues to be one of our biggest challenges although some of the arrangements that were implemented as part of COVID response did help ease this process. We have for some time had a capability based approach at NYCC for delivering services and this helped when spinning up new services or plugging in new technology- we understood the gaps and what the key tools should be used for. We were able to quickly implement new technology and services using this approach. Key focus on the customer experience, again we have a strong customer approach and design principles at NYCC and this helped us shape new services considering all customer touch points – this was challenging at times for those who were not as familiar with our customer principles however we were quickly able to build trust as the experts

Additional Comments

At the recent Innovation awards, ran by North Yorkshire county council, the Social Isolation response team was awarded the Peoples Choice Award which was voted on by members of NYCC

COVID-19 Response Recognition Award

The project itself was in response to the COVID pandemic and details of what was achieved are included in the main submission.