LiveWest

LiveWest is a housing association whose ethos is ‘A Home for Everyone’. Among the customers it accommodates and supports are young people with a diverse range of needs, strengths and aspirations. Jenny Endean, Young Person Service Development Manager at LiveWest, asked Elixel for a digital evidence-based tool for measuring and supporting change when working with young people.

At a glance

  • Consultative sessions with young people and social workers
  • Bootstrapped fully working web based prototype
  • Test phase to measure impact and make key improvements
  • Continuous development to improve the product further
Jenny Endean

A case study interview with Jenny Endean, Young Person Service Development Manager at LiveWest

A digital compass

"The young people we support are all on a journey for the time they are with us, which can be up to two years year before they move to independent living. During that time, we and they need to know how they are progressing, what works well for them, and where additional support is needed."

...we wanted to create a digital version that would be interactive and make it clearer and easier to measure progress over time...

"Based on the priorities identified by the young people in our consultations, as well as the idea of young people being on a journey, the LiveWest Compass was developed. We had worked with young people to develop our youth offer and designed with them a paper-based ‘compass’ to measure their progress over a period of time, but we wanted to create a digital version that would be interactive and make it clearer and easier to measure progress over time and to update support plans appropriately."

Working out what our users required

"The Compass areas that we measure were agreed by young people and took into consideration the conversations we had with them on what the most important outcomes were for them. Their choice of outcomes, combined with the knowledge of our colleagues, led to seven measurement areas: health, social skills, personal growth, housing, finance, learning and employability.

Young people created a list of ‘ingredients’ which are the main steps to achieve their aspirational outcomes. For example, with health, what would their progress be? It might be following a sleep and exercise routine. Or a finance aspiration might be to build up some savings."

We wanted something digital, engaging, innovative, creative, and interactive, but we didn’t know what it would look like.

There is often a correlation between the measurement areas, where changes in one have an impact on the others, so creating a digital compass was always going to be a complex undertaking. It was also a sensitive project because we are working with a diverse range of young people, and we wanted to ensure everyone continued to be involved."

Elixel – our digital partners

"We wanted something digital, engaging, innovative, creative, and interactive, but we didn’t know what it would look like. Therefore, when we went to Elixel, we were keen to hear their ideas and discover what was possible. From the outset the collaboration was positive. We felt listened to; we were challenged when it was needed; they gave us ideas; and they got us to focus on what was realistic."

We felt listened to; we were challenged when it was needed; they gave us ideas; and they got us to focus on what was realistic.

"In our partnership with Elixel, we have created an evidence-based measuring tool which will improve outcomes for young people. Elixel worked with patience and diligence over three years to produce a digital compass that gives us what we want now for our customers - approximately 500 young people - and which has the potential to grow."

A unique tool

"The Compass is tailored to individual needs, and it has been designed so that it empowers the young person to have more control. With the help of their key worker, they can focus on those areas that are most important for their progress. The Compass helps them to recognise their skills and strengths and to therefore unlock their talents - talents they might not have realised they had.

During the development process, the portal went through various iterations from prototype to launch, all the time being tweaked and improved with the assistance of young people and colleagues across our young people services who were trialling it. The project was benefited by Elixel coming in to see the people taking part in the testing, to learn directly from them how the portal could work better.

I am not aware of any other measuring tool in this field that has been designed in collaboration with the young people themselves. This was made possible by our excellent working relationship with Elixel."

Success, all-round!

"The Compass allows us to capture our regular review conversations with our young people in a very visual way. It offers a circular ‘spider’s web’ graph with seven sections. The goal is for the line in each of the seven areas to move from the centre of the web to the outer edge. The flexibility of the portal also means the progress can be displayed numerically rather than visually, for those users who prefer it. Together, the young person and key worker update the individual’s compass following each review conversation.

The ability of the digital compass to flag up fluctuations over time doesn’t only help the young person and us to identify areas where additional support may be needed. It also allows us to look back and see when an uplift occurred. We can then pinpoint what action occurred at that time to spark that progress and use it as part of their ongoing support plan. In this way, it flags up strengths and strategies that have worked for the young person and we can discuss how they could use this again or in a different situation. It informs us what works for individuals."

...it reminds them how far they’ve come, which is important because it can be easy to forget sometimes. And for our organisation, it gives us robust data on every customer...

"When we first looked at moving away from a paper-based compass, we wanted something innovative and flexible, a digital solution that would work for our customers and our colleagues. The Compass offers us that. It gives our young people a clear picture of where they are on their journey with us, and what is needed for them to complete their journey. It’s also very good for them to see their progress on the graph - it reminds them how far they’ve come, which is important because it can be easy to forget sometimes. And for our organisation, it gives us robust data on every customer using the Compass.

We are very pleased with the end product."

And their story continues...

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