Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Project: A digital services review and discovery exercise. 

Time frame: 5 weeks

My role: User researcher and service designer

Working for: Tim Daley, Perago Wales

Methodology: User centred design. Double Diamond Discovery Phase. Qualitative insights and research. Agile Sprints. Service Blueprints.


What happened: 

In line with the remit of the new Centre for Digital Public Services, Tim Daley has been working with Blaenau Gwent council to help them with improvements to their digital services. I worked as part of Tim’s team that were tasked to uncover the ways services were both delivered and experienced. This project was managed carefully within the climate of Covid19. All of our meetings, workshops and insight interviews were managed remotely using Microsoft Team meetings, MURAL boards and phone calls within the teams environment.

Our first task was to understand the service provided from the council’s perspective. Over the course of conversations with different departments on MS Teams, I was quickly able to piece together the basic workings of the services and map this on multiple service blueprints. 

Following this I spoke to a wide range of residents to gather insights about their experience of the council services with particular reference to Waste Services. Qualitative research such as this encourages open conversations, feedback and requires a mindset of empathy to see things from the customer point of view. It’s worth noting that this approach still follows a sound process and methodology to ensure data compliancy, consistency and correct interpretation of conversations.

It became evident during the insight interviews that common themes were emerging from types of residents which we went onto cluster and combine into personas. Personas that had certain needs, behaviours and interaction styles with the council services, and that we could use as representative service users to play out the service experience. 


Using the personas, I was able to add a layer onto the service blueprints to see the differences in how a service was both delivered and experienced. Further to this, I mapped a user journey of my experience of the contact centre and website whilst trying to do specific tasks, which brought more clarity to the blueprints as well providing useful UX design feedback.  

Perago team members were able to unpack and corroborate data from website visits and contact centre calls. These findings alongside the user research were powerful in demonstrating how the council could make considerable time and financial savings through service improvement.



The purpose of the exercise was to only to discover and present findings, though the insights and opportunities became clear to all we progressed with the research and so we were able to present our suggestions for improvement to digital services as well as internal processes. The project has now received further funding to help Blaenau Gwent council to progress to the development phase for improved digital services.

What I learned:

For privacy reasons I have kept the details concise and the images are unable to be enlarged to preserve the integrity of the project.

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