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Wales' CDPS trials text service for social care users

Old lady with smartphone

Wales’ Centre for Digital Public Services (CDPS) is running a trial of a Track My Request text notification service for less vulnerable people who need help from social services.

The agency launched the trial of a private beta version with Neath Port Talbot Council in September 2021 and has now carried out a survey of self-referrers and people referred by family and friends in the area.

The aim of the service is to keep people updated on progress through a series of four text messages sent out at different times in the referral journey. The goal for the local authority is to reduce the number of calls that are made by people seeking reassurance that they are still in the system.

CDPS has reported that nearly 90% of residents eligible for the service have now opted in, and some have indicated that services should be more accessible through digital channels.

Among the findings of user research was the timing of text messages is highly important. The first two messages are sent quickly after referral to assure residents their request has been logged and moved on to the relevant team; but this sets high expectations of how quickly they will receive further updates. These are not currently being met and some residents fear they are falling out of the system.

It has also identified an issue in that the care service team has to contact the individual in need, but the person making the referral may not be included without consent, which means they face a longer delay between text messages.

CDPS said it is now looking at how Track My Request can be embedded into the service, what timing and frequency of the texts is most suitable, and whether the same text series can be used for self-referrers and family/friend referrers, or if the service need to be more personalised for the user groups.

Image from iStock, JordanSimeonov

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