We have partnered with a consortium of different agencies across the Access to Justice sector in a project funded by Etic Lab and Innovate UK. The purpose of this work is to carry out a major study to determine the feasibility of applying new digital technologies to support front line workers and clients of our services. Massive investment in both the private and public sectors in digital technologies over recent years has not been matched in our part of the voluntary sector. Although the cost of developing new tools and approaches is a significant factor, as you all know the complexity of the problems we face is also a barrier.
This project is designed with these issues in mind because it focuses primarily on understanding the who, what, why, when and how of our work, not on the technology. Furthermore, it is designed to contextualise different people’s routes to affordable justice and to determine the feasibility of developing technology to help those of us who serve the public in this vital area.
Because this project is about us and the ways in which we work, the first phase of research will give us a chance to talk to the researchers and help them build a picture our services; working practices and our clients needs. The research team have a series of questions they will be asking but just as important are our your thoughts and ideas on how your work might be better supported using technology, if indeed you think it could be. This is the first stage – in the next phase of work you will have the opportunity, if you wish, to contribute to the design of any solutions that might emerge. Remember this is a feasibility study and the question is, can anything be done to provide help for our work with clients and what might it look like? At this stage no one knows for sure what might work best or at all, and we could all of us in the sector benefit from the answer.
Our sector can only very rarely afford to invest in research and development of this kind – driven by our ideas and requirements, we welcome the initiative – and time permitting – will join in where we can.
What are we looking for from partners?
We need the help of the community to make this project work and that help can be any or all of the following.
Let us Interview you about your service(s)
Explore with your help how you use information
Insight into acquisition, storage and use cases
Observe your service delivery
Workshop solutions to specific problems
Testing of prototype solutions
What do soft partners get in return?
Access to the Service map with the ability to make queries, create a profile for your service and use the tool to signpost with clients.
Reports and data concerning the sector as a whole. A valuable snap shot of the sector, with the ability to benchmark your activities and identify trends and opportunities.
Invites to a planned series of workshops that deal with questions you may have about data handling, new opportunities and enhancing your services with new tools.
Priority access to any new systems and tools developed as result of the research and development project.
We want to establish a sector wide research partnership.
Researching the above objectives will be a large and complex task given the range of organisations, services and needs involved. Over the next 12 months we’ll be bringing together the experience within the sector for support. Are you interested? Can you help?