Worcestershire County Council has launched five new apps as part of its “Here 2 Help” COVID-19 response program. The apps were designed, developed, and deployed in just two weeks using the OutSystems low-code app development platform.
“We’ve been able to get increasingly critical apps related to our COVID-19 response deployed in record time – some in under 24 hours,” said Jo Hilditch, Digital Delivery Team Manager at Worcestershire County Council. “This has enabled us to help both vulnerable individuals across the County and our teams get the help they need in this unprecedented situation. Our community response app, in particular, has been very popular and we’ve currently received 1,445 volunteer offers and 1,623 requests for support. We’ve worked with OutSystems for a number of years, and its platform has allowed our developers to work in an incredibly agile way.”
Designed to allow Worcestershire County Council’s teams to respond more effectively to the ever-changing situation, the five apps rapidly developed by the Digital Delivery Team are:
- Community response app – This “Here 2 Help” external app matches requests for help from vulnerable residents with individuals, businesses, and volunteer organisations who have offered support. This was designed to bring together and streamline volunteer efforts that have been seen on local social media, as well as providing a channel to upload ID and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) documentation to ensure safeguarding procedures are followed.
- Volunteer redeployment app – This internal app is aimed at understanding employees’ previous experience and additional skills outside of their current roles to help the authority more effectively redeploy them into areas where support is needed as a result of COVID-19 – especially for access centres, provider services, waste services, and HGV drivers.
- Absence from work due to coronavirus app – This internal app allows employees to instantly report absences from work as a result of COVID-19 infection.
- Existing medical condition declaration app – This internal app enables employees to inform the HR team about any underlying medical conditions that could put them at an increased risk of complications as a result of COVID-19, so that they can be redeployed to alternative roles or locations if required.
- Previous care experience app – This internal app enables the HR team to find out if employees have previous care experience, in order to supplement existing care staff, should additional capacity be required.
The Digital Delivery Team has also developed an additional two apps to help support the Coronavirus testing program in both Worcestershire and Warwickshire:
- Coronavirus testing app – This app enables eligible non-NHS staff to request tests and allows the council’s HR, OD, and Engagement function to coordinate booking slots. The app will be used by Worcestershire County Council, Warwickshire County Council, and various partners, including the police, fire service, and schools.
- Coronavirus test results app – This app enables non-NHS staff across Worcestershire and Warwickshire to submit their test results and provides a dashboard for the HR, OD, and Engagement function to handle the submissions.
Having worked with OutSystems for more than five years, its low-code platform, designed for the development of web and mobile applications, has already been used to develop a range of apps to support Worcestershire County Council’s digital presence, underpinned by a dedicated team of six developers in three workstreams.
In mid-March, two developers were tasked with developing a range of apps for different departments across the authority in response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic and were joined by two additional developers later in the month. Initial forms for both the internal and external apps were developed within 24 hours and then refined in order to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the teams involved, including HR, and Public Health.
Now that the apps are deployed, members of the relevant teams can update them in order to collect the information they need. For example, HR can change the skills or experience fields in its volunteer redeployment app quickly and easily, as new skills are required for contingency planning.
Willem van Enter, VP, EMEA, OutSystems, said: “Worcestershire County Council had to deliver critical apps in a very short timeframe, and our platform has helped the team to design and deploy them faster and more efficiently than ever before. This has enabled a range of teams across the authority to connect volunteers with those who need additional help, safeguard vulnerable members of staff and better plan the redeployment of employees, based on skills and experience, as the situation develops.”
Further details about OutSystems, can be found here.