Norfolk Community Advice Network
Referral System
Mobile & Web App Development.

Introduction.

The Norfolk Community Advice Network (NCAN) is an organisation set up to improve access to free, high-quality social welfare advice, information, advocacy and representation services for those living in Norfolk.

Membership of the network consists of over 50 social welfare advice agencies from the voluntary, public and private sectors, linked to a wider body of associated support organisations.

Moving with the times.
The introduction of GDPR in 2018 meant that NCANs old system was no longer compliant with the laws that protect the personal information of individuals.

We were approached by NCAN as their referral system has been in place for a number of years and was no longer fit for purpose. Their system provides a database and user interface through which agencies can check incoming referrals, access client contact details, make referrals to other agencies and also track the progress of outgoing referrals.

Sense of Responsibility.
Being part of a registered charitable organisation, they understandably had a limited budget. We sat down with NCAN and worked through their detailed requirements to help them identify aspects of their specification which were unwarranted, to ensure their budget was not consumed by unnecessary features.

We spoke in detail to gain an understanding of how they work so that we could deliver a system tailored to them, along with suggested features for future enhancements of the system.

"Fantastic support from Hut Forty Two. Always easy to communicate with and very responsive to queries. Really helpful with suggestions and guidance." - Emily Balsdon, NCAN Co-Ordinator

The new NCAN Referral System is a secure web application which enables registered organisations to refer clients to appropriate partner organisations. The system was designed to replicate much of the functionality of the old system, but uses a more up-to-date web framework which is highly extensible, GDPR compliant and is hosted on a platform with strong policies and practices in place including daily backups.

Core features include user-based permissions; management of referrals and of organisations; an email notification system; dashboard-style view. We added the ability to search and export referrals; an archiving system to allow data to be hidden from view; and activity log and audit trail.

The old system was missing some key functionality such as the ability for a user to be able to view referrals for multiple organisations in one go - users had to manage multiple accounts and log in separately to view referrals for each organisation of which they were a member.

Users that work for multiple organisations can now access the system from one login and crucially have the ability to search referrals without exporting sensitive data from the system.

Our testing department worked alongside NCAN at all stages of the development process - reviewing functionality, the user experience, and customer requirements. After the first version of the system was launched, in-house testing also took place before the launch which allowed the customer to ensure that the new referral system was tailored exactly to their processes.

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