Council service wins prestigious innovation award for work developed during pandemic
A Hackney Council service, originally developed to help residents during the Covid crisis and now part of its core customer services, has won a national award.
The new ‘Link Work’ service was set up to help those shielding during lockdown to access food and other support. Since then, that work has expanded and now sees officers proactively contacting residents in order to help them in a range of ways, including to access financial help or linking them up with government and the voluntary sector services. The team is also trained to spot when a resident may need help from more than one council service - such as housing and social care - or from a partner organisation.
That work has now been recognised by the country’s leading body for digital transformation, called Digital Leaders, where the service won the Public Service Innovation award at a ceremony last night (Thursday 23 June).
I’m so proud of this recognition of the Link Work team’s work. Now, more than ever, people are relying on their local councils to help them meet the huge challenges they face because of the cost of living crisis, the acute shortage of high quality, affordable housing, and the complicated range of services available which can often feel overwhelming.
I’ve been inspired by seeing the team’s work, first hand, and the difference they are making for some of our most vulnerable residents. Many residents simply want to be listened to and really heard, not have to navigate their way around the Council. During the pandemic the lines blurred between what used to be considered ‘front line’ services and the so called ‘back office’. This award-winning work has continued to break down these artificial silos, delivering for Hackney’s residents - our heroes also wear headsets.
Going forward, what I am most excited about is the way that this team is using technology and data with a focus on people. Too often ‘digital’ services can risk leaving people behind, but the Link Work team are showing how technology can empower human centred services that put residents first.
Crucially, we are not going to stop here. This committed team is just one example of the ambition we have to continue Hackney’s mission to lead the way in delivering public services that will meet the challenges of the 21st century.