DWP calls hack to create digital solutions that help vulnerable people access services

Hack the North 2.0 will bring together volunteers from many digital specialisms – and the best ideas could be made into public services

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is holding an event to enable volunteer web developers and other digital specialists to develop tools to help vulnerable people in Manchester access support services, some of which could be made into public services. 

Hack the North 2.0 invites developers, data scientists, user researchers, user experience (UX) designers, project managers and enthusiasts to come up with ideas for digital solutions that help people to access the support services that they need, when they need them. The two-day, free event in Manchester will look in particular at when “hand-offs” between organisations occur and identify where they cause difficulty or hardship to individuals. Any digital solutions developed at the event must aim to bridge this gap.

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According to DWP Digital, the best ideas could be made into products for the public to use. Any solutions and code co-created on the day will be published under an open source licence. “We hope that these outputs will be used to inspire ideas and we’ll find a way to drive forward any feasible ideas,” writes deputy director Dan Tanham on the DWP Digital blog. 

The event will include presentations from DWP and regional support organisations, idea pitching and the formation of teams of volunteers and DWP Digital developers, engineers and data science specialists.

Last year, DWP Digital held a similar event that focused on identifying and addressing barriers to job applications in Manchester, and on developing solutions to encourage more people into work. Ideas included an app that uses data to assess which type of roles and employers are best for people with certain health conditions and an app that turned the job hunting journey into a game. The winning submission was an app that used data to match individuals’ skills to the required skills for the role, and had an API to allow access to skill-boosting resources.

Hack the North 2.0 takes place on 23 and 24 November. Those interested in attending can register to do so here.

Sam Trendall

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