Join us as Head of Digital Experience on the next phase of our digital journey 

We’re recruiting for a Head of Digital Experience at Hestia and, whether you’re interested in the role or just finding out a little more about our digital work, we wanted to share our digital journey so far and our roadmap for where we go next.  

Back in 2019, we made a strategic commitment to exploring new ways to provide support to our service users through digital. This came from recognising that digital options – which could be something simple like keeping in touch with a support worker via WhatsApp, as well as things like apps, websites and self-management tools – were increasingly something that people expected as part of a modern service. While face to face support will always be central to what we do, we could see that digital could offer people more choices about how they are supported and how they manage their recovery.  

Digital Journey

Although we were at a relatively early stage in exploring the potential for digital or blended services, we weren’t starting from scratch. With the support of the Vodafone Foundation and in partnership with people with lived experience of domestic abuse and other experts, we had launched the Bright Sky app a couple of years earlier. Bright Sky is for anyone affected by domestic abuse and it helps you to spot the signs of abuse and find a safe route to support. Through the development of Bright Sky, we learned lots about digital development processes, trauma-informed research and design, and about what it takes to not just launch a new product but keep it live and well-maintained.  

We could also see that there were pockets of new and interesting practice going on across Hestia in our services. Some services had started offering digital skills sessions in response to seeing some clients struggling to access digital services, support workers were researching digital wellbeing tools to signpost to. We could see the beginnings of a shift around how 1-1 support was delivered, with some people asking for phone or video calls rather than in person meetings because they found them more convenient.  

To help us draw all these learnings together and translate them into insights that would inform the next phase of our digital journey, we recruited our first digital lead at the end of 2019.

Not long after came Covid-19, which drove what would have been around two years of digital transformation in around two weeks! We’re proud that all of our services remained open during this time. And not only did we make sure we were still there for all those who needed our support, we also found new ways to deliver support under challenging circumstances, enabled by digital. 

Safe Spaces 

Our Safe Spaces programme made a safe route to support available – on and offline – for anyone experiencing domestic abuse. And new funding helped increase our capacity to experiment with digital delivery within our services. We trialled training for staff around supporting people by phone, email text and video call to help ease the transition and make sure that they felt confident, no matter what channel they’re supporting someone through. We offered online wellbeing activities to address the isolation many were experiencing and we recruited volunteer Digital Champions to support people to build their digital skills and confidence remotely. We also piloted an extension to our case management system, that allowed the people we support to have more access and ownership of their data.  

Alongside this process of active exploration, we also started more purposefully understanding the end-to-end experience for both our staff – where common pain points were and what might be the opportunities to prioritise. Through an intensive discovery period of interviews, workshops, journey mapping and ideation sessions, and lots of sharing and feedback through weeknotes and playback sessions, we defined the vision and roadmap for the next phase for the Digital and IT strategy. And with our current digital lead now moving on to a new role, the new Head of Digital Experience will own and further shape this roadmap, with initiatives including: 

  • Providing service staff with the tools and support to shape how they integrate digital support into their offer, making sure that this is owned by the services and the people they support.  
  • Growing our Digital Champion digital inclusion service, and continuing to test new formats and approaches for digital inclusion support. 
  • Developing and testing a proof of concept for a new product offering both live and self-directed learning with a focus on wellbeing and mental health, building on learnings from the provision of online groups and activities so far.  
  • Using user-centred design principles to help facilitate the redesign and simplification of some of our key internal processes. 

It’s an exciting and ambitious roadmap, all driving towards achieving our vision for digital and IT: to create a modern, digital organisation where technology improves the experience for all Hestia people. We know that things won’t always go to plan and we might need to change direction along the way. And crucially in this we have the backing of our senior management team, Trustees, and Digital and IT subcommittee who understand that what we learn, and how we use those insights to inform our decisions, will be critical to us achieving this vision and delivering the best experience for our people.  

Join our team

If you’re as excited about this as we are, then we would love to see an application from you. And if you have questions about our journey so far and our plans, or are interested but not sure if you meet all the criteria in the job description then please get in touch.  

Find out more about our digital work: