Partnering with Idox to build a relevant and user-friendly Local Offer
Keen to choose the right provider, the Council embarked on a series of focus groups with families and professionals from a variety of services across the local area to test other Local Offers and refine their requirements.
“Finding the right partner was essential for us”, explained Chris Morris, Bedford Borough Council’s SEND Manager. “We chose three Local Offer websites and asked service users to test them out, telling us what they liked and didn’t like. This was a really useful exercise – especially as the one we thought we liked the look of internally, wasn’t rated highly at all when it was put to use by focus group participants.
“The Local Offer designed by Idox generated excellent feedback – young people and carers really liked how it was presented and found it easy to use, so we were confident they were the partners for us. There’s real joy in being able to commission something truly coproduced with those who will actually be using it.”
While a project of this size would typically take six months, Idox worked closely with the Council to get it up and running in just six weeks – thereby meeting the target that was set at the start. As the Council’s previous Local Offer was over-populated, navigation issues made it difficult to use. A clear advantage of the Idox system is its simplicity at the backend, yet the ability for users to find what they need quickly with its colourful, easy-to-access categories, age bands and search function.
Chris commented: “Following Ofsted’s feedback, co-producing our Local Offer was at the heart of the whole project. We launched with an emphasis on wanting to build it with them – not just for them – and invited organisations to get in touch to be listed. With the right system in place, we were able to shape our Local Offer gradually with services we knew families wanted there.