Citizens Advice

Lightful Solutions case study

Lightful built a brand new Local Service Search system, which made the process of searching for local services much quicker for Citizens Advice staff and volunteers, so they could answer more calls

The challenge

As COVID-19 continued to impact people’s lives, the need for Citizens Advice’s Services - free, confidential and impartial advice relating to money legal or consumer problems across England and Wales - had never been greater. At peak times, 10,000 people called their helpline every day, but the organisation didn't have capacity to answer all of those calls.

In order to meet this increased demand for Citizens Advice support, the Local Service Search (LSS) - a way for Citizens Advice staff and volunteers to find relevant services in their local area when taking calls from the public - needed to be replaced with a fit-for-purpose solution that was easier to use, more accessible and more efficient.

Lightful researched and uncovered challenges with the existing LSS tool by running workshops with service users and observing them use the tool. After designing potential solutions, these were then tested and iterated before a technical build started.

What Lightful delivered

Discovery and journey mapping

Identifying and understanding challenges with the existing LSS tool

Design and prototyping

Testing new approaches to see if they improved the service

A bespoke system implemented on Salesforce

Building new technology to power the service

Outcomes

Lightful built a brand new Local Service Search system on a more scalable database. This made the process of searching for local services like food banks, legal representation and furlough information much quicker for Citizens Advice staff and volunteers. As a result, support staff could answer more calls, and support more members of the public.

Lightful rebuilt the LSS tool, with three key user goals in mind:

  • A streamlined process for login, and an easy way to manage different access levels for different types of users

  • An easy-to-use search tool, which returned wider and more relevant results, faster

  • An application allowing some users to add and update information owned by their local Citizens Advice office

The new and improved LSS tool now caters for all types of staff and volunteers, who have varied levels of digital skills, and it meets the most up-to-date accessibility guidelines. Data is structured, secure and future-proofed so that it can be protected, modified and integrated with other services in the future as needed.

The human-centred approach to the design and build led to increased efficiency for hundreds of Citizens Advice advisors across the country, and over 4,500 advisors have used the tool since launch. Because of this, thousands more people in England and Wales received advice and support on shelter, support and food throughout the pandemic.

Duncan Baldwin
Product Lead, Citizens Advice

As a result of the hard work from the Lightful team, we are now better placed to support the public than ever. Please extend my appreciation to everyone at Lightful who has helped to deliver this important project.

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