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In one of our fortnightly calls with local authorities (LAs), we identified a user need related to LA services listed on Find support for your family (‘Find’).

The user need we captured was ‘as an LA account manager I want to be able to remove services from Find’.

To do this they would need something like a delete functionality in Manage family support services and accounts (‘Manage’), that didn’t currently exist.

Scoping the ticket

Our team met to discuss the feasibility of adding a delete functionality and it was decided to look at possible alternatives. This was because adding the ability to delete would require extensive work and we wanted to try and produce a quicker solution in the interim.

The full delete functionality is however still on our roadmap for later in the year.

At this point, we also brought in an existing user need that we had identified for voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations services listed on ‘Connect’. This need was ‘as a VCS account manager, I want to be able to pause requests to our service so we will not be overwhelmed’.

We decided to try and address both these needs together.

Solution: active and inactive services

We started looking at a way for account managers to hide services from Find or Connect as a short-term solution. This would meet the needs of:

  • LA account managers to stop services appearing on Find
  • VCS account managers to temporarily stop services from receiving requests

Editing a service page

On the edit service page we added an ‘Activating the service’ heading. We used a summary list from the GOV.UK check answers pattern to keep this consistent with the other question pages. The summary list appears as a table and displays a value for the service status as either ‘Active’ or ‘Inactive’ (we plan to test with our users whether this is the best wording to use).

We added content on the edit service page explaining that services automatically appear as 'active' in the directory. Users can then change the service status by clicking the ‘Change’ link.

Question page

The change link takes the user to a question page which asks the question ‘Do you want this service to be active?’.

Users can change the service to inactive on this page to hide the service from the directory.

To meet MVP the decision was taken to not add the question page at the end of the add a service journey at this stage. This was because it would take developers a significant amount of time and we need to get the functionality released as soon as possible.

We will however look at adding the question page to the ‘add a service’ journey as part of future iterations. We currently have an assumption that account managers will always initially set the status to active but this is something we want to test.

Other designs we considered

We considered adding radio buttons at the top or the bottom of the edit service page. However, we thought having a separate question page would allow us to explain in more detail about the status of the service.

Additional accessibility improvements: service list page

The recent Digital Accessibility Centre accessibility audit on family hubs highlighted problems with the service list page.

The table had an unlabelled header for a column containing links to view details of both service and locations it was listed against. This made it difficult for screen readers to determine the column's purpose. We decided to include improvements to address this at the same time.

We removed the ‘view details’ and ‘view locations’ links and made the service name the link. Users can then click this to view details of the service and its locations.

Next, we added a ‘service status’ column with GOV.UK tags component to show if the service is ‘active’ or ‘inactive’. You can view the updated version of the page on the prototype.