Meeting the CivTech challenge: Wallscope and mygov.scot
We live in a world where volumes of information are rapidly growing. This can leave us increasingly uncertain that we’re finding the right information – especially when we’re looking for government services online to help us with a complex, life changing event.
This is the context of a CivTech challenge our team at Wallscope are currently working on, with the Scottish Government’s Digital and Justice directorates as challenge sponsors.
We’re developing a product that aims to solve the following challenge:
How can we provide better access to public services through mygov.scot?
For the proof of concept, we’re focusing on a ‘relationship breakdown’ scenario – like a divorce – where a citizen may have no idea what support and services are available to them. The content team in the Digital Directorate have been developing information about relationship breakdown on mygov.scot – a website that aims to join up public services based on user needs.
However, the website already has thousands of pages of information, and the volume is always increasing. In order for content designers to be able to deliver targeted content relevant to a citizen’s unique circumstances, it’s crucial they can surface, navigate and process information in an intuitive way. That’s where our solution comes in.
Our platform connects content designers with the most relevant information from any number of sources. The technology recognises entities such as people, places and organisations within content, and automatically links them to contextually relevant information and documents. This empowers individuals to better interact with the information they need, and massively reduces the time spent looking for information from multiple sources.
What we’ve done so far
Since starting the CivTech® Accelerator phase in August, we’ve had an extensive consultation period with the Scottish Government’s Digital and Justice directorates to better understand their needs and ways of working as we develop and adapt the product.
In September we presented our progress at the Scottish Public Sector Content and Analytics Meetup – a great way to get the word out and connect with other content teams who face similar challenges managing their information.
We’re now working on the implementation of relevant pieces from our technology stack such as Natural Language Processing and Named Entity Recognition – these improve workflow and help computers to process and link information in a similar way to a human brain.
Engaging with users
Using our search and discovery tools, content designers will be able to automatically annotate and tag content within their content management system. This creates a linked data ecosystem – similar to an indexed library in which information from any number of sources can be surfaced quickly and efficiently.
To explore how content designers would use these tools, we ran a user workshop attended by content professionals from the Scottish Government, Citizen’s Advice Scotland, the NHS and Registers of Scotland. This involved mapping the stages of the content design process, identifying pain points and discussing the ways in which our product could help with these.
The session was very valuable in terms of developing our understanding of common issues – as a result we’ve gained insight into how our tools could be used for research, content validation, and to assess the most authoritative materials and references.
The team at Wallscope have really enjoyed working with the Digital and Justice directorates and all the learning and development opportunities the process has offered so far.
We’re looking forward to demonstrating the value of semantic technologies in the workplace and getting more feedback on our product’s design, functionality and user journey.
We’ve also been exploring how we can deliver value in terms of stakeholder relationships. In a complex scenario like a relationship breakdown, we need to understand how our technology can best facilitate interaction between different organisations – such as Citizens Advice, housing associations and legal bodies.
Our ultimate aim is that the work of CivTech, the challenge sponsors and companies will lead to improved public services and further collaboration between government teams and innovative businesses.
We’ll be presenting at the CivTech demo day on 10 January 2018, so watch this space!