Oxford Hub | Building a web application to manage volunteer-run phone support programmes in Oxford



Why the work is being done

To build a simple, bespoke web application for managing phone support programmes.  This application will be rolled out to Phone Links (our own support programme) and  any other charities who have shifted some of their support to the phone or who are keen to explore this approach. 

Features will include:
  • Feedback form for volunteers to complete after each phone contact
  • Management dashboard for pod leaders to oversee the volunteers and their contact forms
  • Safeguarding notification flow
  • Notifications for referrers to have visibility over the programme

This programme is part of the Catalyst and The National Lottery Community Fund COVID-19 Digital Response funding initiative; a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and CAST, supported by the Catalyst network.

Problem to solve

With the move away from in-person events, many charities are turning to volunteer phone calls to supplement the support they give to their clients. 

Effective phone support programmes must have robust solutions for:

  • Vetting volunteers and verifying their identity
  • Providing volunteers the support they need
  • Keeping appropriate records in a data-compliant way, both for tracking activity and for safeguarding purposes
  • Ensuring that there are clear procedures for escalating safeguarding concerns

This project aims to provide a blueprint for running these type of programmes, and provide the tech so they can run effectively. 

Who are the users and what do they need to do

These are our user needs statement based on out discovery phase:

“As a phone support volunteer
When I finish a call
I want to be able to log the call, flag any safeguarding concerns, and record notes in a GDPR-compliant way.”
“As a phone support pod leader
When one of my volunteers raises a safeguarding concern
I want to receive a notification, and to be able to view notes from recent calls, so I can support the volunteer in taking the next steps.”
“As a phone support pod leader
When I do my weekly review
I want to be able to see how much activity there was during the week, and which clients are overdue for a call.”
“As a phone support referrer (e.g. as an AgeUK dementia advisor, who has referred a client for phone support)
When I do my monthly review
I want to be able to see which of my clients are still regularly receiving phone calls, and be able to contact the volunteer if I want any more information.”

Key outputs:
  • A web application that volunteers can log into to record their calls 
  • Appropriate permissions to ensure different levels of visibility of data e.g. a volunteer can see the history they submit, a volunteer leader can see the history for a specific group of volunteers 
  • Functionality to record and flag safeguarding concerns

Key project resources

OCL / OH Phone Links Implementation Strategy
Describes stages mentioned in progress indicators
OCL / OH Phone Links Discovery
User stories and notes from 1-1 sessions with programme participants
OCL / OH Phone Links Open Source
Notes from open source chat with Chris Thorpe