Raising the standards in social care
Creating a simple to use internal system that allows care workers to spend more face time with kids.
We believe that tech shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving big change. So when Harri and the team at FABRIC came to us with an idea to develop an internal web app we embraced the opportunity.
Let’s set the scene...
FABRIC: The Care Leavers’ Community, is an award-winning organisation that is making a positive difference to young people aged 16+ who are either in care, leaving care or homeless. Led by founder, Harri Helvon-Hardy, they’re widely known for their commitment to supporting young people and creating wider social impact.
The care sector involves a lot of paperwork. Page upon page of notes, and long-winded processes can fill up a big chunk of a typical working week. And it’s not just FABRIC that experiences this. This paper-heavy approach is widespread.
Following an internal discussion, they asked themselves: “surely there’s a better way to manage our processes?” The team searched for a solution that would act as a contact management database to make things just a little easier. But the options available weren’t quite ticking the boxes.
“We’ve tried a few software tools but nothing seemed to work for us. We’d have to cobble together multiple tools to help us to manage our cases, and in the case of the software we did use, it lacked the ability to evidence crucial milestones in a young person’s development”, said Harri.
"So we decided to build our own tool - something created by the very people using the system and influenced by the unique needs of the care system."
Harri Helvon-Hardy, FABRIC
"The only thing that really held us back was the tech - it was a completely different world to what we knew. We needed a tech partner who was keen to go on this journey with us, who was happy to discuss the basics, and who shared the same values as us”.
Developing an internal web app with teams new to tech
"Big Lemon doesn't just develop a product and leave, they care about how we will use it out in the world and how it will positively impact those who are vulnerable in society.
It wasn’t just a lack of tech knowledge from the immediate team that was the only challenge facing FABRIC when developing their idea.
The design and development needed to push that much harder because the tool needs to be used by those who aren’t comfortable with using tech.
“We hire people for their amazing skills with young people, not for their tech literacy. So the tool needed to be developed in a way that the user wasn’t left out”.
Tech with purpose, tech with care.
Big Lemon is proud to be known for transparency and a personable service, especially when it comes to working with awesome organisations with big ideas who may lack the technical know-how.
Our team ran a series of sessions to dig deep into FABRIC’s internal workflows and visualise their processes. This can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve not approached this before, but we took it step by step through a series of collaborative sessions.
We also went on to look at the different users and their needs to work out the features that were needed. This was then supported with product engagement sessions to ensure that the end user’s best interests were always represented.
“FABRIC is a relational led company, this is the way we work with our FABRIC Kids and it’s the way I work with those who provide services to us. I firmly believe in the power of working relationships and view those we work with as a part of our extended team.
We have lots of unique personalities, including my own, and it’s important that people get us and how we work and bring the ‘magic’. Big Lemon embraces not only what we do but who we are as people and this has made for a powerful working relationship”.
Today, the product - known as Stella - is progressing through the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) stage. Not only does the tool use a document database, but it is moving into management information reporting, providing senior management crucial information and reports.
“I’m really excited at what Stella will bring to team FABRIC, and also to the social care sector in general.”.
The Tech Bit
Progressive web application for FABRIC to manage their back office.
Web app is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and built using a microservices architecture.
Why Big Lemon?
“What we wanted to do was no small feat. Typical of FABRIC, our idea was unique but the team at Big Lemon have walked alongside us each step of the way, embracing our ideas, translating our language into their language and supporting us to develop our understanding of tech."
Harri Helvon-Hardy, FABRIC