Hitting the ground running with our Universal Credit support

Universal Credit could be considered a bit of a hot topic right now and not just because we keep talking about it here in the office. The next phase of Universal Credit rollout begins in October and we know that lots of organisations within the Online Centres Network are already working hard to support those affected by the changes. But who’s supporting them? Us of course and that’s why the redevelopment of our Universal Credit resources on Learn My Way is at the top of our priorities list.

You'll recall a recent blog by our Social Inclusion Manager Charlotte Self about working with Lloyds Banking Group to support Universal Credit claimants. We know how important it is to get the updated content prepped and ready to go before rollout begins, so we’ve been breaking the rules a little (we’re very rebellious on the Good Things Learning team) and I wanted to let you know how we’re progressing.

The journey

To help you follow what we’re doing, the workshop that we held in London, as mentioned in Charlotte’s blog, identified the following needs:

  • An updated guide on Learn My Way
  • checklists for Universal Credit claimants
  • notes and flowcharts for those supporting Universal Credit claimants.

Thinking about these three needs, the guide is the one that stands out from the crowd - it’s different - so we’ve separated it from the rest. The rest are henceforth known as a ‘toolkit’.

Before we started to make anything we did a quick sense check. We made a list of the things that would be in a toolkit and a storyboard (more like a rough sketch) of what would be in the guide. Then we asked everyone that came to the workshop (and a few who wanted to help but couldn’t be there) to check those things.

Normally we’d have got some feedback from those people, tweaked things and asked them to check again. Then repeat until we got things right. But because of our limited time scales, making sure each stage is exactly right for everyone before we move on just isn’t quick enough.

So we’ve asked our partners - Lloyds Banking Group and those centres who are helping - to let us work in a different way.

We listened to the feedback on our storyboard then made a script (the next stage in developing a course) based on the storyboard and the feedback. It sounds obvious but not going through the usual iteration process has saved us a huge amount of time.

In a project this big we’d expect to take nine weeks to draft a guide and we wouldn’t have started those checklists, notes and flowcharts until the guide was ready. This way we’ve already shared a rough version of the guide and people are checking our checklists as I type.

Thoughts and learnings

It hasn’t been plain sailing. When I shared that rough draft guide I forgot to ask our techies to make it available for our partners to see so we lost some time there (lesson learned), but we’re much further on than I could have hoped for.

This week I’ll be amending that rough draft of the guide based on feedback from the group. Next week I’m hoping to have a version I can try with some Universal Credit claimants. The toolkit feedback is due next week too and we’re geared up to improve those items as soon as we receive it.

This way of working has been challenging for everyone because it’s not the process that we’re used to, but for this project with this group of people, it’s working very well. That means you can expect some great improvements to the Universal Credit: a how to guide and resources on Learn My Way in a matter of weeks.

Explore the series

Getting to grips: Universal Credit

In part one of our Universal Credit series Social Inclusion Manager Charlotte explains what it is and how we can help.