Developing an easy to use website - Barod Community Interest Company and Social Services Improvement Agency

18 Feb 2015 - 3:00pm

The Social Services Improvement Agency (SSIA) wanted to find out what people thought about a new website, a one-stop shop for social services in Wales. Barod helped them to find out what members of the public thought.

The Social Services Improvement Agency is a bespoke and specialist team dedicated to supporting improvement within the social care system of Wales.

Barod is a workers cooperative that grew out of the People First movement in Wales. Their directors and work force are an equal mix of disabled and non-disabled people. They specialise in bridging the gap between public and private sector organisations and people with learning difficulties.

Barod attended a meeting that was held to show the beta version of the website. Barod felt that they could help to make the site more accessible so that it better met people’s needs. SSIA were already aware of what services and carers wanted from the site as they had engaged with people from the start. However they also wanted to know what people in Wales who may one day need to use the website would want and were open to new ideas.

Because of Barod’s networks, they were able to connect with and hear from people who would not have been able to have their say otherwise. Barod acted as an intermediary by going to people who wouldn’t have attended a meeting. The people who talked to them were frank and honest with their views as they trusted the Barod workers. They also contacted people who were likely to use the website in the future.

The discussions that took place highlighted some key issues that otherwise may have remained unknown. People who were yet to access support did not know what terms they would use to search for the website. The importance of privacy was highlighted again and again. A ‘panic button’ similar to those on Women’s Aid websites was suggested to swiftly move people from the page and remove it from their web history, as they would be using the website to find information on sensitive family issues. It also became clear that people valued the privacy of finding information online before taking the step of directly making contact with social services staff.

The site’s language would have to be everyday language, as often the people using the website would be unfamiliar with the terminology of the services. 

Barod work on the principle of ‘co-produced’ knowledge. This means everyone’s contribution is valued, so they paid for people’s time at the same rate as they paid themselves. Even so, this was a cost effective way of working, as Barod did not require money to cover conference or meeting facilities as they directly went to people. 

 

Anne Collis

Barod Community Interest Company

Email: anne@barod.org

 

Jessica Matthews

Social Services Improvement Agency

Email: jessica.matthews@wlga.gov.uk

 

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