Helping Ofsted work more effectively.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial UK government department responsible for inspecting a range of educational institutions, including state schools and some independent schools, as well as child care, adoption and fostering agencies and initial teacher training.
Ofsted inspectors carry out hundreds of visits to schools and agencies every week and they want to enable them to work digitally. Although some inspection work is done electronically, many inspectors still rely on ink and paper to gather information, capture evidence in-the-field, and to write up reports, which then have to be sent to the office to be scanned and converted into PDF documents.
Ofsted had no consistent approach to evidence gathering and they were not making the best use of available technology during either the inspection process or in the storage and retrieval of data.
Their challenge was to modernise their systems so they could take advantage of 21st Century innovations. And the first phase of the solution was to implement electronic evidence gathering (EEG).
Rainmaker deployed a multi-disciplinary team, combining user research, service design, technical architecture and delivery management experience, to integrate with Ofsted’s internal team and deliver a three-month discovery phase.
Building on internal user research which identified opportunities to improve how evidence is captured, shared and distilled to make judgements, Rainmaker set about identifying user needs by shadowing inspectors in the field, talking to groups and individuals and assessing the technology landscape of the organisation.
Working collaboratively with Ofsted’s key stakeholders, the user research data allowed us to build a prototype solution for evidence gathering using Microsoft 365 and related products including PowerApps, Flow and Sharepoint. Within a few weeks, we were able to demonstrate the first iteration of the prototype to give inspectors a sense of how they might use it to gather, tag, sort and collate evidence to produce reports.
We were also able to identify and recommend software tools that could convert handwriting and audio to text, recognising that individual inspectors and the importance of not imposing a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Working collaboratively with Rainmaker and our users, leveraging innovations such as ExperienceLabs, has allowed us to develop the design and functionality at pace.”
EEG Product Owner . Ofsted
Better understanding of organisational needs and pain points.
Extensive knowledge transfer.
Research focused on users’ pain points, needs and ideas to make things better.
Developed user research tool kit, published on GitHub, for the benefit of the wider user research community
A digital solution delivered at pace which
revolutionises ways of working.
By changing the way Ofsted does business and encouraging cultural change, EEG is being used as a digital exemplar across the Department.
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