Here at ESP we have created a number of websites for advice partnerships under the Advice Service Transition Fund (ASTF), provided by the Big Lottery Fund. These websites share the common aim of providing links to free advice, help and support to people, including the provision of advice on welfare benefits, debt, housing and employment. Although these websites have similar core functionality they each have their own distinctive look and feel.
I appreciated their insight and understanding of our business.
Finding Advice by Category
For Advice Barnsley and Advice Wycombe, the main way to search the site is by category, i.e. housing, debts, benefits, etc. The categories are clear and bold on the home page, linking through to a list of relevant results. The Advice Wycombe website also features the ability to filter results further to show organisations providing advice to specific client groups, such as older people, younger people, gypsies & travellers, etc
Finding Advice by Location
The Advice Oxford website focuses more on helping people to find the nearest source of advice to where they are. Users can enter their postcode or general location to get a map showing relevant locations. They can easily switch between the map and list views to find the find most convenient outlet to visit or telephone. The system automatically calculates the distance to each outlet and orders them with the nearest at the top.
The clear simple design of the partnership website you have put together for us has been very well received.
Client Referral System
The Advice Barnsley partnership has adopted a “no wrong door approach” to client enquiries. In other words, if a client contacts one partner organisation but they think that client would be better served by a different organisation, they want to make the hand over as easy and seamless as possible. To help with this we have developed a secure client referral system. The clients contact details are logged along with basic details of their enquiry and these are referred on directly to the appropriate partner to follow it up with the client.
The system allows partners to quickly track referrals in and out and see which have been resolved and which are still ongoing. It also provides a reporting system to monitor monthly stats concerning referrals to/from each partner organisation and their outcomes. The system is secured by SSL to ensure a high standard of data protection for clients confidential information.
See Them in Action
The websites are being used and promoted in a variety of different ways. For example, the Advice Barnsley website is being used by the Library Service in Barnsley who have set up touch screen kiosks for visitors to the library to use. Whilst the Advice Wycombe website is being promoted via printed postcards and events involving local organisations.