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Developing a health and benefits service community

Attendees talk to each other at the service design community meet-up
Attendees at the Health and Benefits Service community meet-up

For the past 10 months’ designers from DWP Digital and NHS Digital have been looking at the relationship between work, health and benefits. We’re service designers at DWP Digital and NHS Digital and we’ve been working with a range of stakeholders to form a service community.

Making complex journeys easier

People applying for benefits relating to their health may need to interact with a number of different departments including the NHS. They may also need to use external organisations and/or seek out support independently.

Health and care journeys can be very complex. There is not a single NHS, it consists of thousands of individual parties that make up the whole. Also health and care is very personal to people; it’s about them, something they are as a person and not just something they have, or do.

The journeys can also take a significant amount of time and be very non-linear in nature, as described in this blog about mapping health and care journeys. Working with the service community, we have started to explore the trigger points which could join the health and benefits journeys and best support the user as a cohesive service.

What we are working on

In our most recent community meeting in July, we started work on the service landscape, identifying services that support users with health and work across some of the different organisations involved. We used generic services stages to identify what’s available to people needing support with health and work. This work will help us to develop a collective truth around what services exist in this space, explore more specific cross-sector user journeys and spot gaps and opportunities for improvement. It’s a living document that can be shared across all of the departments and organisations involved.

Alongside this broader landscape work, we will also be focusing down on a specific problem within the current service to identify the challenge, who should work on it and how we work together as a community to start designing solutions that meet the user needs.

Come along to our next meeting

Our community meetings are currently held on a quarterly basis with the next session planned for Thursday, 7 Nov at the GDS Academy, Manchester. So far we’ve had great representation from designers, operational staff and policy advisers from DWP and NHS but we would very much like to widen this out to local government and third sector stakeholders. If you are interested in joining the community, please get in touch!

We're recruiting service designers now. Check out our vacancies on our careers website.

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