Mobilising urgent community response with Power Apps

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Local authorities don’t have it easy, but right now they are facing more challenges than ever. One of the biggest challenges they face is managing and responding to the needs of their share of the 1.5 million clinically vulnerable people in England during this critical time.

Their priority is managing and looking after those in the community who already need additional support, making sure they are safe and well and have access to essential supplies such as food and medicine. Not only that, there are now new groups of people who are not typically ‘vulnerable’, but for whatever reason, cannot do things they would normally do.

So how can local authorities manage all requests for support in their area and ensure that support is appropriately aligned with the relevant and most effective service? Let’s find out..

We have been working closely with a local council in the North West to build and deploy a Power App which will allow council workers and volunteers to work together to provide care to those in the community who need it most.

Normally, members of the public would be able to walk into a help centre if they needed support from the council. Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council needed digitalise the process of requesting help as there should be no physical contact.

Together, we managed to build an app in a matter of days to help them manage help requests across the local community. Using the Microsoft Power Platform, we spun up a Power App to enable council workers in contact centres to triage support requests during critical times.

The process is broken down into two outcomes, people that need assistance and those that don’t. Users calling in or being contacted, will be asked if this is the first time they have been contacted or calling in. If it is the first time, they will be read a data protection script, the person calling will not be able to continue without accepting these.

The person will then provide contact details and be asked if they need assistance. If they don’t this will be logged in the database and the user will not be contacted again, but the contact will remain if the person calls back.

If they do require assistance, they will be asked why it is required (based on pre-set options, i.e. “NHS has sent me a SMS saying I am at risk”). What the assistance needed is, options of Food, Medical or both and the persons closest Hub.

The selected Hub will triage the task for a Hub manager or Hub team to allocate to a volunteer. There will also be a section for any delivery data to be added as well as a detailed description of what the person requires, this could also be used for adding any dietary requirements or allergies.

The contact is now created, and a task allocated to that contact. The task is triaged to the Hub Team where they will see all unallocated tasks in their list, they will then view the task and allocated to a volunteer.

The Volunteer will have a list of tasks allocated to them, they will not be able to see any tasks not allocated to them and not be able to search for people not in their task list. The volunteer will then either complete the task and close it down or mark it as not able to complete. Marking it as not able to complete will add it back into the Hub’s main task list.

We were able to build this Power App in just a few days, enabling the local authority to quickly mobilise its community response during this critical time. One of the best things about Power Apps is that deploying this capability to another CDS or organisation is really easy since it’s not bespoke. It can even be deployed in a matter of hours!

Watch the video to see the app in action.

Want to know more about Power Apps? Then you should head to our Power Apps hub.

Did you know that Microsoft are providing offers and support to empower organisations on the front line of COVID19 to take advantage of the solutions and are making Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Apps portals and Power Virtual Agents available for a free six-month product offer? Check it out here.