Shared Service Elements / Layers



Why the work is being done

Mission: To reduce the time, cost and effort for the sector to adopt high quality, ethical digital interventions to shared challenges.

Objective: Develop, identify and embed cost effective, sustainable shared infrastructure

Key results (For each of the 4 products: Notifications, Search, Open referrals, Resource hubs)
  • 5 service users have tested and provide feedback to validate further investment of time and resources into the products 
  • We understand the costs associated with sustaining the products (hosting, maintenance etc)
  • We have identified a model for full cost recovery 
  • The product has a clear product roadmap and prioritised requirements list
  • A service recipe has been published that provides details on how to reuse the product

Problem to solve

Notifications: How might we reduce the time, cost and effort for the sector to send SMS notifications to service users, often as confirmations or reminders?

Search: How might we reduce the time, cost and effort for the sector to create a branch-finder search or geographical search on their website?

Resource hubs: How might we reduce friction for professionals seeking help from charities to find the resources they need.

Open referrals: How might we create prototypes that store, consume and publish data about referrals using the Open Referral standard?

Who are the users and what do they need to do

Digital leads: As a digital lead within a VCSO, I need to send notifications to my users/clients via SMS so that they can receive up to date, personalised information about the service I’m providing them.

[Resource Hubs]
Digital leads: As a digital lead within a VCSO, I need access to a product that will allow me to tag and publish my resources in an accessible way so that professionals can get the help they need.

[Search], [Notifications], [Resource Hubs], [Referrals]
Digital Agencies / Suppliers: As a digital agency supporting a charity, I need to understand what existing solutions there are available so that I can offer the most cost-effective solutions to my client.

Funders: As a funder when funding digital in the charity sector, I need validated tools and resources that will enable me to make funding choices that are responsible, ethical and sustainable.


  • Shared technical infrastructure will provide a cost-effective means for charities to scale their operations in order to support more vulnerable communities.
  • Charities are working with digital partners to develop bespoke versions of these solutions already
  • Charities have the willingness to reuse an existing platform
  • Charities have enough technical expertise to install and use these solutions


  • Finding charities and digital agencies that have the will, time and capacity to test these services
  • CAST has capacity to provide the necessary support to charities to enable them to test the services

Next steps

Phase 1 - testing with charities
Initially we will focus on the products that charities are able to adopt directly - those being Notifications and Resource Hubs.

Resource Hubs has a small number of charities using the product and CAST will also be included in that number. CAST will identify 5 charities and work with Agile Collective to configure and set up the portal for each charity use-case. CAST will create a Service Recipe for the product.

Notifications has been tested with 10 charities. We will interview 5 charities about their experience using the product and create a service recipe based on their needs.

Key project resources