Helping Kingston Council make positive changes to residents lives and communities through social prescribing

Mike Stephens

Mike Stephens

Tagged with
Connect Well, Social Prescribing

A few weeks ago we got some really exciting news - we received confirmation that we had been successful in winning a competitive tender to design and develop the Social Prescribing digital platform for Kingston Council. We have been appointed official supplier along with our friends and colleagues at mHabitat who we teamed up once again for the bid.

The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames logo

Reading through the tender documents when it came across our desks back in February got us all pretty excited and got our juices flowing at the possibility of being part of an ambitious social prescribing project; one which aims to help local residents make a positive change in their lives and within their communities. In essence, Social Prescribing empowers both health and social setting professionals to a range of local, non-clinical services. It is viewed as a more holistic way of improving health which focuses on social, economic and environmental factors rather than just clinical solutions.

Competitive, local authority tender processes can be long, hard and arduous - both for the client and for the tendering businesses - so we were particularly thrilled to win this piece of work. It was also pleasing and refreshing to read feedback from the Council on our ITT response, that one of the areas that we scored highly one was the alignment between ours and the Councils social values. While the Social Values Act came into force in 2013 it rarely plays a large part in the procurement of digital product development. Seeing such a strong weighting and importance placed on organisational values was great to see and is something we’d certainly like to see more of.

As a tech for good digital product studio, we have a number of core values that we strongly believe in; values that we hope which run through everything we do:

  • If we say we’ll do it, we’ll do it - simple
  • Respect the human
  • Form matters, but function comes first
  • Never stop learning
  • We’re in this together

We committed these values to paper pixels collaboratively as a team. They help guide us as a socially-minded enterprise that aims to reinvest of a percentage of profits back into tech for good digital projects. It’s motivating to know we are working with like-minded people, striving for the similar outcomes.

One of the exciting elements of this project is that we’ll be designing and developing in line with the Government Digital Standard (GDS) framework. While we broadly follow the themes and ideals of GDS for the majority of our projects, this will be the first time that we will be working on collaboratively with a client to properly follow, document and adhere to GDS, with the ultimate aim of being audited for compliance on completion.

Within our ITT response, we proposed to document the tertiary journey between ourselves, mHabitat and Kingston Council by taking a "working in the open" approach to the whole project, from user research and project management, right through to coding in the open. We're pretty thrilled that we're able to take this approach, especially on such a key local government project as it really affirms the values that we hold close.

Connect Well logo - Kingston Council's social prescribing service

This blog post forms the first in a series of articles that we'll be writing to document the research, challenges, and solutions we all jointly discover and create to better serve local residents within Kingston.

Next week we're working from Guildhall — Kingston Council offices – for 3 days, absorbing as much discovery information and research as possible and running a workshop with 45+ local stakeholders - from GPs, commissioners, voluntary, community and third-sector organisations through to civil servants - to fully understand the challenges, processes, and pressures encountered by all, helping to ensure we that we co-produce a solution which will have real impact locally.

We're really looking forward to sharing the outputs from our first sprint on-site and the workshops in the coming weeks. If you're a local resident, civil servant or work for a voluntary, community or third-sector organisation in Kingston and would like to be involved in the project, we'd love to hear from you.