Service recipes: our new tool to help you learn how other charities deliver services

Published on
April 30, 2020
in
Updates
Chris Thorpe
An early version of our service recipes platform is now live. The platform collects practical examples of services charities have delivered digitally, which other charities can reuse and learn from. A collaboration of Catalyst with FutureGov, Snook and CAST

We are excited to share with you that an early version of the service recipes for charities platform is now live and is the result of the collaboration of Catalyst with FutureGov, Snook and CAST.

It collects practical examples to help charities reuse and learn from one another’s digital services. We have been referring to those as recipes: they show the ingredients and steps needed to deliver a service. By charities, for charities, for inspiration or straightforward implementation. These recipes can be reused as they are, or tweaked as necessary.

We believe that re-using existing tools and code can help charities solve service design and delivery problems more quickly than building a tool from scratch. It can save time and money, and build a team’s confidence along the way.

The platform is in Alpha stage: that means it’s a real thing, it is publicly available and can be used by people, but it is still likely to develop further in response to feedback.

We have been sharing this concept with some charities over the last few months and decided to build it, as the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. We are aware though, that the devil is in the detail. That’s why we are sharing it openly. By getting it live, we are hoping to boost our learning process for what works and what doesn’t so that we can iterate more quickly based on the findings.

We are launching it today with a small but exciting collection of service recipes, with more to follow in the next few weeks.

The recipes were contributed by a range of charities, some who have had a strong digital focus for years and others who are just starting out.

We Are With You are offering webchat services in order to support people dealing with addiction and mental health issues. It took one week to get the web chat services up and running and demand for the service has remained steady at 50-70 sessions a day. With You's recipe includes how they selected their tools, set up and are staffing the service as well as guidance around how to implement web chat successfully.

Young Somerset support young adults with 1-to-1 therapy. In response to COVID-19, they quickly shifted their service online and were able to find a solution that met NHS governance and security requirements. In Young Somerset's recipe, you’ll find how they made the decision to move online, what tools and software they used and risks they considered due to the now remote delivery of the service. 

Being Woman offer women digital skills training  to increase inclusion and equality. To help people stay connected during lock down they distributed tablets and laptops and helped them gain skills and confidence to get online. Being Woman’s recipe covers the learning resources and digital inclusion schemes they partnered with, such as  Learn My Way, Make It Click and  Devicesdotnow.

We want to thank all the charities who have already provided us with service recipes about the challenges that they’re currently facing and services they are providing. 

We will add more recipes every week and we need organisations like yours to share the digital solutions you have had success with or that you are trialling at the moment. With each recipe shared, the library will grow and it’s our hope that you’ll also benefit from it too in the near future. 

To share your recipes, you can fill in this form in or send us an email at recipes@thecatalyst.org.uk

For platforms and initiatives such as this around reuse, to succeed we need to know if the recipes have helped you and your organisation build a new service, or improve an existing one. We would like to hear from you, whether for general feedback or to share how you used an existing recipe. 

Finally, if you want to learn more about service recipes and our thinking behind it, we talked about service patterns and life events here.

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