This might be IT, professional expertise or people. It might also be models which help us challenge and change how we work. In the last few years we’ve used ‘Lean Six Sigma’ and ‘Agile’ methodologies to drive the efficiency of our process.
These techniques have had a positive impact, visible in our core performance. This year we were delighted the work was externally recognised with us winning the Project and Programme Management Award at the Scottish Public Service Awards in December for our Agile work.
This year we wanted to think more about our customers, and build on our strategic theme to use ‘service design’ techniques to challenge us to improve how we deliver services. This set of approaches focus on how customers experience a service.
We were delighted to work with the Scottish Service Design Academy to deliver training to our team. It was one of a number of successful collaborations in the year, which also saw us looking at data in new ways in collaboration with DataLab and their internship programme.
These design principles then fed into key discussions and projects where we thought we could make a real difference:
- Canvassing the views of the profession in roundtables
- Seeking feedback from complainers and lawyers on our contact offering (phone, email etc.)
- An accessibility review of our website
- Creating an app to make it easier to schedule mediations with complainers and lawyers
- A review of our quality framework, with a focus on what ‘quality’ means to users.
You can read more about these, and other projects, throughout the annual report.
Our service design focus has also been at the heart of our position on reform. We need to understand what it is like to be a complainer, and what it is like to be a lawyer complained about – how does the process look and feel, what time does it require parties to invest, and what impact does it have.
We have seen in the 2007 Act it is easy to draft a process which perhaps looks workable in legislation, but which no set of users is happy with when actually proceeding through it. For example, both lawyers and the public find it complex and confusing when a single complaint travels through multiple bodies, with different legal tests applied, and the time and duplication that all leads to.
It is also hard to predict how services work in practice, and our needs and preferences can change and be quickly influenced by other aspects of life. This also means processes need to allow flexibility in the future.
While it’s tempting to want to check off the box and move on, designing a service is never done. It’s only over when you go out of business.
Jamin Hegeman, TISDD, pg. 353
Sometimes meeting one customer need can create challenges on another front. Lawyers, consumers and professional bodies all call for a faster process. However, often we see a failure to respond timeously or repeated request for extensions. We have to balance trying to deliver the need for prompt resolution with the need for fairness in allowing extensions in reasonable circumstances. Where time limits are set in statute or rules, we’ve also been becoming much firmer in enforcing the expectation set by Parliament. As this issue has not been improved by efforts over the last five years we plan to invest further in coming year in tackling lawyers’ non-compliance with statutory deadlines.
As we move forward, we hope that new legislation, and then our ability to innovate within that, can meet the aspiration of service design:
“making the service [we] deliver useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable.”
UK Design Council, 2010, TISDT, pg. 30
Quotes from: https://www.smaply.com/blog/service-design-quotes