City of London Corporation

The brief

While it may be small in size, the City of London Corporation has big ambitions to provide sector-leading Local Offer services and information to the City’s SEND families. Communitas was hired to undertake a strategic overhaul of the current website, working collaboratively with the website’s target users at all stages of the process.

Our response

We designed a research questionnaire and conducted in-depth interviews with SEND families and fed back in detail with recommendations to the Corporation’s Children’s Services Team. We also spoke to SEND families in other local authorities, backed up by research into a wide range of other Local Offer websites, to get as complete a picture of current best practice as possible.

Having produced initial website designs we consulted SEND families on these to ensure we had captured their need to have clear information about their entitlements and services on offer, as well as their desire to give their children as normal a childhood as possible.

Our discussions ensured that services were searchable by the child’s age group, and also via quick links to the most commonly asked questions. We introduced new features around leisure, where accessible and autism friendly activities could be highlighted. We also recommended that blogs and reviews be introduced so that families could read lifestyle recommendations from other families like theirs.

Now that the website is live we continue to work with the City of London Corporation to support their work with the families.
A snapshot of results:

  • Positive feedback from the Parent Carer Forum including, ‘the site is now much easier to navigate...’, ‘I can find things more quickly’ and ‘I like the new site it kind of draws you in.’
  • Positive feedback from the Director of Children’s Services and her team
  • Plans to replicate the Local Offer website approach in other Local Authorities

Our experience of working with Communitas was very smooth and easy. Their involvement in consulting with stakeholders throughout the process was invaluable. Parents really responded to the fact that they were able to talk to someone independent from us, and their feedback was honest and highly pertinent.

Communitas then provided practical, creative recommendations about how we could reflect parents’ comments and concerns into the design and content of our Local Offer website. The feedback from our users and others within the Local Authority has been overwhelmingly positive.

Sharon Cushnie, Lead SEND Advisor