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Getting people engaged

When we started our project to improve our services through user centred service design, we discussed our approach and agreed some overarching principles, these included

  • Putting the user at the centre of our work
  • Working in the open
  • Engaging colleagues

It was important that we found ways to use the knowledge and experiences of people across the organisation in this work. We also wanted to make sure we were sharing knowledge and engaging as many people as possible.
To help this we launched a new service design group to bring people together from across CTSEW to think differently about how we deliver our services to our carers.

Setting up our Service Design Group

We set the group up to:

  • share views and help advise on how we can make the services we deliver better
  • learn about how to design services and provide insight from users
  • represent colleagues, their ideas, how we could improve and feedback with the group
  • develop communications to share what the group is doing
  • build new ways of working, changing existing tools and ideas and testing them with colleagues.

We invited everyone in the organisation to get involved, inviting expressions of interest to be part of the group and represent their business area. We had a brilliant response and were able to select a group of people with a variety of backgrounds and experience of working with carers and across the organisation.

Our first session

Our first session saw 15 people from across CTSEW come together to share ideas and thinking. We started with an introduction to digital transformation and user centred service design. To help put the work in context we used this definition of digital transformation:

‘Digital transformation is so much more than technology; it’s designing services around the needs of your users. It’s creating an organisation with the culture and skills for change to succeed.  It’s about people.’

Victoria, who led our first session, explained how we need to think about the carers who need our services, and how we should work as an organisation to make sure we set ourselves up to make the most of technology and the opportunities it brings. Our starting point should be people, carers who use the services of CTSEW and our colleagues who work with us.

What is a service and how do we understand a problem?

Jess Neely, Perago’s Service Design Lead, then took the group through the next part of the session, thinking about what a service is and the starting point for really understanding the problem we’re trying to solve. Jess started with a definition of a service:

‘A good service helps you to achieve the things you need to do.’

A common challenge for improving a service is that the starting point is not always framed clearly or in user centred way.  Our first task is to understand the full context of what we’re actually trying to do. Generally speaking, people’s brains are trained to get to the solution as quickly as possible and implement that solution immediately. We need to make sure we’re solving the right problem. This may sound trivial but it’s actually fundamental to delivering the right outcomes.

We worked in groups to explore some of the things you need to consider when looking at improving a service. These included:

  • How can we be sure we’re solving the right problem?
  • Has the project sponsor accurately identified the problem in the first place?
  • Are we solving a symptom of something?

Do we need an online booking tool?

When thinking about digital transformation people often think about implementing a technical solution, but we should start with understanding the problem and identifying the user need. We wanted to use an example with the group that could bring some of this thinking and ways of working to life, so we decided to explore a statement that CTSEW has been considering for a while now:

‘We need to build an online booking tool for carers to book our services.’

To really know whether that is the solution users need we need to understand more so this felt like a good example to use with the new group. To kick off we used Mural, a tool we use for our service design work and other online collaboration, to work together to explore the problem and start to understand what it was we need to solve. The questions we asked were:

  • Who are the users?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • What is our motivation?
  • Is it part of a broader service?
  • What outcome do we want?
  • What are our key metrics?

This led to some really challenging discussions around the needs and motivations of carers, how we reach more people when they need support and how CTSEW organises itself to do this better. This was just the first session of the group. Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring this problem statement further, looking at the user journey and user needs, prioritisation of needs, defining the scope and exploring potential solutions.

Being involved


Rachel Brown, Schools Development Worker at CTSEW was one of the team to get involved in the new Service Design Group.

‘I joined the Service Design Group to develop my own knowledge and understanding of how the organisation works and how Perago would help. I enjoy working with people from across the organisation as it gives me the opportunity to learn more about what is going on in different aspects of CTSEW. I also wanted to be involved in making a change for the better.


I was apprehensive about our first meeting as I didn’t feel I would have anything innovative or useful to add. There was a relaxed atmosphere where we were each able to speak openly without judgement and the discussions really benefitted from this. I am really excited to see how this develops over the next few weeks.’

We’re also looking forward to seeing how the group develops and we’ll be sharing progress and learning on this blog as we progress.