Food For Thought

Transforming case management in a Foodbank increases efficiency and reduces stress for users

Food for Thought user system

About

Food for Thought is a foodbank service based in West Dunbartonshire, established in 2014 with the goal to alleviate food poverty for the most vulnerable people in the community and support them on their recovery back to stability and a healthier balanced dietFood for Thought currently give between 150 – 200 emergency food parcels each week. Pulsion have been working with Food for Thought since August 2020 to develop a new case management system. This was required as foodbank users had to provide personal information and register each time they used the foodbank service.  

Challenge

Foodbank users had to provide all their details with every visit to the foodbank which could create extra stress and anxiety. Further, the current system to record service user details was based on excel sheets and paper which was often very time-consuming for both staff and users. This meant that monthly reporting, searching for users and gathering data on user dependencies was challenging.

The Solution

The old system that Food for Thought were using involved manually recording foodbank user details for each visit, on paper and excel sheets. This system was highly time consuming for both staff and foodbank users and meant that monthly reporting, searching for users and gathering data on user dependencies was challenging. Further, requiring foodbank users to provide personal details on each visit created extra stress and anxiety around a foodbank visit, which is already a difficult task for many. Food for Thought needed a system that could hold and easily retrieve user data and alleviate any stress for foodbank users. 

Result

Initial discussions between Pulsion and Food for Thought identified the problems with foodbank users having to register their details on each repeat visit and the difficulty of storing and retrieving user data. Pulsion first produced a user story and then identified and wireframed the screens required for a new system. The system produced by Pulsion is a responsive web application, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s securely accessible by all Food for Thought volunteers and those that require the foodbank services. It offers custom forms for registering individuals and custom reporting which can be extracted to a CSV, while keeping to the Food For Thought brand and style guidelines. This system now means that foodbank users are only required to register once, their details will be stored and can be retrieved for subsequent visits. 

The digital transformation of Food for Thought’s operations has resulted in a case management system that is more secure than the previous paper and excel-based system and is much more efficient for viewing and recording notes on foodbank user files. It has also made it easier for staff to see, edit, track and record foodbank users and the additional calendar function allows the team to track daily activities with ease. This solution has an impact on the individuals and families of foodbank users, vastly increasing the speed at which people can get the food and support they need, mitigating anxiety and improving the experience of visiting a foodbank. Pulsion continue to support Food for Thought’s new system with any issues or additional requirements. 

 

With the ability to help people schedule appointments, find additional support and have all the information in a one-stop-shop, this system will revolutionise how we work and make our service more person-centred as we aim to tackle the root causes of Food Insecurity

Lorraine McLeish, Operations Administrator, Food for Thought

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