Blog

Our new direction

A New Year resolution that will last!

Over the last few months we’ve been working hard to design and develop a great new version of ALISS that will help people find and share resources that support health and wellbeing. We’ve had some great independent support along the way to validate our technology and help us grow and learn as a team. We’ve some great opportunities in our grasp and we want to make sure that 2017 starts with a strong, positive focus. We’re looking to the future and making sure we do the best we can for people with long term conditions, unpaid carers, disabled people and people wanting to live well.

We’ve been running development cycles building our new product, testing and ensuring the feedback and learning goes into our work. We are driven by delivering the best service and product and we plan on releasing our beta website (another name for a testing website). It’s important to remember that we’ve not just decided to change and it’s a “nice thing to do”; we’re changing because we have gathered years of important feedback from stakeholders, GP’s, Community Links Practitioners, local practitioners, pharmacists and you. You’ve told us what you like and what doesn’t work as well as you want. We’ve listened and we’re now ready to show you what we’ve been doing.

So what does this mean for you?

On the 06 January 2017 the ALISS service is introducing some exciting new changes. From this date, account holders will notice a difference as to how you access the ALISS service and the majority of features will be moved to our new website. This means that the current website will no longer support features such as signing up for a new account, logging in to a current account, adding a new resource, or changing an existing resource. These features will all be available on the new beta website.

On the current website you will only be able to use the search feature to find resources that have been added before 06 January 2017.

Rest assured you’ll be directed to the beta website where, if you’re an existing account holder, you will be able to log in using your normal ALISS account username and password. If you want to sign up for a new ALISS account you can do it on the beta website and you will be able to add a new resource using our new and improved approach. You will not find all the resources that are on the current ALISS website at this stage, but we value the work that has gone into adding these and were working hard to make sure that we can transfer as many possible, whilst ensuring they are compatible with our new beta website. The resources that are added to the new beta website will not be searchable on the current website, as it’s our plan to phase it out. Rest assured, there will be plenty of notice and support available for our account holders and stakeholders before that happens.

If you have an ALISS API, an embedded search box or a customised webpage this service will continue to work. Please see the Beta launch technical FAQ for more technical information.

We know the look and feel of the new beta website will change as the whole point of releasing is to get your views on how it looks, how it works and what you think will make it better. Rest assured, all the information added to the new beta website will be saved.

It’s a really exciting time for everyone involved with ALISS but we also appreciate that change can be challenging. By focusing on the person looking for local support that will help them live well, we’re completely confident that what we’re doing is right. We’re sharing all we do with you as we need your support and input to make ALISS the best place to find and share resources that support health and wellbeing in Scotland. We welcome your patience and support over this period and if you have any questions or concerns please just get in touch.


By Douglas Maxwell

ALISS Programme Manager

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ALISS is changing, here’s why

Four simple words. “What keeps you well?” They don’t take long to say, you barely even need to think about it, but answering the question takes thought, reflection and an understanding of yourself. It also means that you know what’s in your community and how it can help you.

That simple question was asked a number of years ago and has been the driving force of what ALISS is and what it does; “ALISS helps people find and share resources that support health and wellbeing”. It was from this question that we designed a programme that focused on being more than just a website, but a digital service. We worked with disabled people, people living with long term conditions, unpaid carers, health and social care professionals and technology professionals to coproduce the digital service. As we know when we engage people on an even basis, where all views and options are important we can design great services.

Our journey so far 2009 – 2016

We’ve made available and shared 10’s of thousands of resources supporting health and wellbeing, from cancer support services to inspirational poetry.

We’ve worked with 100’s of organisations, from national public sectors organisations to small community groups.

We’ve supported 1000’s of searches from people who need support in living well, through the ALISS website and through other systems like Living it Up and other Public and Third sector websites.

For more information on the background to ALISS and our progress to date please see ALISS Phase 1 report and ALISS Phase 2 report.

To stay true to the vision and to ensure people are at the heart of ALISS we must move with the times. We are now entering Phase 3 where we are focused on consolidating our learning, harnessing new technology and keeping the citizens of Scotland at the front of what we do. We’re making the changes based on years of technical and non-technical learning and our engagement with stakeholders.

What we’re changing and why

We’re really excited to be building a new ALISS website that uses the best and most up to date technology and thinking in categorisation, synonyms and audience types. While this may sound complicated we’re working hard on developing this so that when people search for health and wellbeing resources they get the results most relevant to their query. Our new website will be designed to reduce and almost eliminate duplication (we can never be 100%, but we’ll sure work to it!)

We’re designing the website so it’s easier for everyone to keep information content up to date. This will be done through a “claim resource” feature where people and organisations will be able to claim resources as theirs, then they control that content.  But we’re going further, we want everyone to be able to “suggest edits” on the resources, if someone sees a mistake or missing information they can suggest an edit right there on the screen. To ensure that the content is relevant and fair, the edit goes for approval by the ALISS team. Now the great thing is we’re not just deciding that this is the best system for making sure the resources are correct, were using the same system as the biggest technology company in the world; Google uses this method to ensure data quality in Google maps.

We’ll still be providing the options for people to use ALISS data on their own systems and we’ll still be offering customizable webpages and embedded search for people to use. For more detailed technical information please read our ALISS Technical FAQs.

So if you have a partnership with us, don’t worry we’re not changing anything on the current ALISS website until May 2017. From this date you will be able to use the new ALISS website alongside the old one, supporting a transition of resources. However, we will be working hard behind the scenes so that when May comes we will have a new, coproduced, easy to use digital service ready for the years ahead. So it really comes back to the question; “what keeps you well”? because we know that the thing that keeps you well will also help other people too. The question that I ask you is, how will you share resources that support health and wellbeing?

Douglas


Douglas Maxwell
ALISS Programme Manager

For more information, please contact the team at aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk and follow our twitter account @ALISSProgramme We’ll be hosting a series of (Twitter) Periscope Q & A sessions each month as part of our commitment to open communications. You can find more information on this on our Twitter feed. If you have any questions or comments on our new direction please send them to our Twitter account using the hashtag #askALISS

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As one door closes, another door opens

My reflections on starting a new job with an organisation I admire

So where do I start?

I’ve been through the interview, had the informal chat and all the references are fine.

Bang! I’m in and its day one and it’s go go go. Or it would be if that was me and if I was working in a different organisation. But look, somethings different about starting with the ALLIANCE, they appreciate that it can be overwhelming starting a new job and they care how I feel. They don’t just promote a person centred vision, they live it. However, this calm, informal style and approach doesn’t demean the professionalism of our team and my organisation, exactly the opposite, it appreciates that I learn and adapt at my pace and for me the results are clear.  Learning at a pace and style that suits me has allowed me to keep my viewpoint wide, ask questions and listen.  It’s valued me as a person and allowed me to keep a stability in my life that my wife Karen and my daughter Aimee need as well.

Thanks.

However, this isn’t really all about me it’s about our team and my colleagues. How are they feeling that I got the job?  How do they feel about me joining the team? I know they’ve had a few challenges together; watching ALISS grow and find its feet in a challenging marketplace and feel this is one of the most exciting times to be involved with the programme. We now have a clear direction that is true to the original vision of the ALISS pioneer Derek Hoy.

So what’s next?

Now it’s about getting down to the real work of ensuring that our people and communities are at the heart of ALISS. That the team grow and develop together into a supportive, highly motivated, professional unit. That the programme is well governed, has appropriate leadership and the management style allows the freedom to explore and grow but with the comfort of support and structure. But most importantly it’s about making sure we value the privilege position we have in shaping the health and wellbeing of the citizens of our wonderful country.

Now bring on the second week.


Douglas Maxwell

ALISS Programme Manager

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ALISS Reference Group

We are establishing a new ALISS Reference Group and would love for you to join us.

ALISS was originally created through a process of Co-Production, bringing together people living with long term conditions and/or disabilities, unpaid carers, health and social care professionals and IT and Data professionals to ensure that peoples’ own experiences, aspirations and expertise shaped the production and delivery of ALISS as a programme and a system. This principle of Co-Production remains an essential part of the ALISS Programme today so that users’ voices continue to inform and underpin the ongoing development of ALISS.

Therefore, the new ALISS Reference Group aims to provide opportunities for people, including citizens and professionals working across a range of different areas to connect and share comments, suggestions and ideas around the future development of ALISS. Whether you have used ALISS in the past or are interested in the possibility of doing so in future, we would be delighted to hear your views on how ALISS can best support people to work together to find, gather and share information about the range of resources or assets that exist in local communities throughout Scotland which can support health and wellbeing and help people to live well.

The first meeting of the ALISS Reference Group on Thursday, 4th August, 2016 will be an opportunity to hear about and discuss the general aims, objectives and direction of the ALISS Programme including current plans in respect of technical development and community engagement activity.

If you would like to come along to the first Reference Group meeting or if you are interested in getting involved in the future, please get in touch by emailing us aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk or via Twitter @alissproject

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

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Meet Rebecca

I am excited to be joining the ALISS programme for a six month secondment after working in London for the past year. I am on the Civil Service Fast Stream, a four year development scheme based in Westminster. My previous postings were in the Ministry of Defence and Home Office, making working on the ALISS programme an exciting and interesting contrast. I am sure I am going to learn a lot during my time here. I have a strong interest in digital and the innovative ways it can be used to build stronger communities. This is something that the ALISS programme does, through helping people access service to improve their health and wellbeing.

I am also delighted to be back in Glasgow, having lived here for four years whilst at university. In my spare time I love to horse ride, run and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy visiting new places and after finishing high school decided to travel with my best friend from school.  For some reason we thought that it would be a good idea to sign up to crew a boat from New Zealand to Fiji. This was something I instantly regretted and was badly sea sick for the next ten days, but it was ‘character building’.  I now refuse to go on boats. Upon graduating I signed up for Camp America and taught young girls horseriding for a summer, which often amounted to running after horses who had decided they had had enough of  lessons for the day, I often couldn’t really blame them. It was exhausting but also a lot of fun!

 After returning to the UK I worked in a Recruitment and Skills Centre as an Employer Engagement Advisor, employed by a charity called Cyrenians. During that time I decided to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream and was accepted, starting the programme in September 2013. A year on and I am really enjoying it, I have learnt so much so far and had so many great experiences.  I am sure that this next 6 months will give me many more.

If you would like to contact me please email  Rebecca.darge@alliance-scotland.org.uk .

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ALISS and Shared Care Scotland

scs-logo.jpg





In recent months, we've been working with partners Shared Care Scotland to index short break services in ALISS for people who are unpaid carers, receiving care, or supporting either group. We are delighted to announce that approximately 400 short break services are now visible within ALISS, this will ensure increased access to short break information.

You can search on ALISS for short break services, search here.

How we did it:

  • A sample of short breaks were first indexed on the ALISS staging platform. This data was tested, and once approved, the full dataset was provided by Shared Care Scotland for indexing to the production ALISS server- making the data available on aliss.org.
  • The process of re-indexing this information is automated on a weekly basis – this means the data is refreshed weekly on ALISS with any changes made to Short break data within the source system- this is a data integration. The data integration means the data in ALISS reflects that in Shared Care Scotlands directory and the data is updated automatically. 
  • This data is now available for people to find on aliss.org and via multiple channels e.g. Living it Up Shine portal, ALISS search boxes etc.

If you or your organisation would like to index your resources in ALISS? Contact aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk for an ALISS account.

We would like to thank Shared Care Scotland for their work with us to make this possible.

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SCVO Get Involved directory

As you may be aware the resources in ALISS which come from the SCVO Get Involved directory integration are currently not linking back to the record in the Get Involved directory. SCVO are currently working to resolve this issue. Apologies for any inconvenience caused, ALISS expect to have the resources displaying again within the next 24 hours.

If you have any questions please contact aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk

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Fostering digital innovation in Scotland: behind the scenes with the award nominated ALISS Programme

The ALISS Programme and service, which aims to make information about local sources of support for health and wellbeing more findable, has gone from strength to strength over the last few years: making the Digital Leaders 100 List this year in the category 'Best Health and Social Care Product or Service'. 

Pictured left to right, Ronan Vallely, Lesley Roome, Andy Hyde and Jane Ankori

- 'Pictured left to right, Ronan Vallelly, Lesley Roome, Andy Hyde and Jane Ankori'   

The Digital Leaders 100 List recognises the highest digital achievements from across the UK’s public, private and non-profit sectors - those who are leveraging digital to transform the UK’s public services and its social and economic opportunities 

At the Digital Leaders 100 Awards on 25 June, Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office and head of the Government Digital Service, spoke on the subject of successful digital leadership: offering insights from his own experience.

Reflecting on the journey of the ALISS programme to date, several factors have begun to emerge as key ingredients of its own success. Firstly it hasn’t been achieved in a vacuum – like any significant achievement it has relied upon the strengths and dedication of a number of people working together within the context of a supportive and facilitating environment.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland has been a natural home for ALISS: as a national third sector strategic intermediary with over 1100 members it has offered the type of flexible, fast paced, and richly networked environment so essential for innovation. Working alongside people with long term conditions and other programmes contributing to the delivery of Scotland’s 2020 Vision for Health and Social care has ensured that ALISS remains true to its original objectives and fit for the purpose that people with long term conditions intended.

Ian Welsh 

- ‘Mr Ian Welsh OBE, CEO of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Chair of the ALISS Programme Board’

Working closely with people with long term conditions and listening to what matters to them, reminds us as digital leaders that digital innovation is only of relevance in so far as it serves the needs of people. A strong coupling between the voice of the citizen and digital initiatives is key.

ALISS as a digital innovation works only in partnership: partnership with other organisations and professionals striving to improve health and wellbeing in Scotland as well as citizens. As such, core values matter: openness, collaboration, courage, resilience, empathy and an entrepreneurial spirit.

We hear it time and again, but relationships matter. 

The Aliiance

- 'Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland'

As we move towards the integration of health and social care, and attempt to rise to the challenge of creating health within the context of an ageing population and financial constraints, it has never been more important that we make best use of the resources we have.

As a digital innovation making information about resources for health and wellbeing more findable, ALISS is well placed to support the general public and strained public services in helping people to identify and make use of support within their own communities. It will also become an important contributor to the community planning process: serving as not only a map of resources but also a barometer of people’s use of them.

In the words of one of our partners – Perth and Kinross Council,’ awards come and go, but the real winners are the ordinary lives we help’. Staying rooted in the needs of our citizens will be key to successful leadership of digital innovation in Scotland.

Jane Ankori

Programme Director – A Local Information System for Scotland (ALISS) 

About ALISS

Our public services and communities offer rich sources of support for health and wellbeing (services, places, activities, events and opportunities) yet information about them is difficult to find: it is dispersed across multiple directories, websites and social media, or not available online at all.

ALISS functions as an information service and has been designed by and developed with people with long term conditions to make information about local sources of support more findable. It is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

Contact aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk or see www.aliss.org for more information. 

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ALISS Events in June

First week in June (already?) and it’s going to be a busy one for ALISS!

We’ll be out and about at various events…if you spot us take a pic and tweet @alissproject #ALISS


Monday 1 & Tuesday 2 June (all day)

Digital Health & Care Institute Long Term Care Revolution Live

DH&CI

http://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/news-and-events/events/view/1010/#.VWv7Ec9Viko

Connect with emerging thought leaders, explore new ideas with leading health & care providers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, funders and designers; learn about a £4 million SBRI competition, which aims to give UK businesses a head start in the drive to transform long term care…

ALISS Partnership and Development Manager Stephen Plunkett will be there with our Programme Co-ordinator Lorna Prentice – drop by our stand for a chat!


Tuesday 2 June 6-8pm

Open Knowledge Foundation Open Data Glasgow Meetup: “We Share We Care”

KF

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-data-glasgow-5-tickets-16925370238?aff=erelexpsim

I will be at this meet up with our ALISS technical partner Kevin Brolly of Braw software to give a lightning talk about ALISS and some of the interesting data challenges we are currently facing. All welcome – come along for an update and chat. Believe there is tea, coffee and possibly cakes too


Wednesday 3 June

Scottish Recovery Network ‘Rights For Life’ National Conference www.rightsforlife.org

RFL

Over 60 speakers and 100 delegates will address a number of key issues around mental health, human rights and recovery. Pop along to the ALLIANCE ALISS stand to talk to our new engagement and development officer Cameron Macfarlane about ALISS and how it can help.



Thursday 4 June 12-1

Technology Enabled Care Programme Workshop

http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Technology-enabled-care-11fe.aspx

ALISS receives some of its funding from this programme and is part of the Digital Platforms workstream - Stephen Plunkett will be presenting an overview of ALISS at this workshop in Mussleburgh. More to follow on this programme as plans shape up.


Thursday 4 June

Project IN:SPIRE Learning session 

THF

http://pphw.alliance-scotland.org.uk/resource/project-inspire-inspiring-better-outcomes/

Cameron MacFarlane is heading off to join the Glasgow Royal Infirmary ICU Project IN:SPIRE team for the next project learning session. Project IN:SPIRE is a health foundation funded project which involves a person centred five-week rehabilitation and support programme for intensive care unit survivors and their families. The sessions support people who have previously had a prolonged stay in intensive care to gain greater control over their health and wellbeing, as well as improve access to community resources. ALISS is being utilised to help link people with community support. Watch a video about this incredible project via the link above.

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ALISS shortlisted for top UK award

DL 100

Well, it's been an exceptional 12 months for the ALISS Programme: beginning late April 2014 with the launch of our new platform and website, and ending with our recent short-listing as 'Best Health and Social Care Product or Service' in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards.

The awards honour the highest digital achievements from across the UK’s public, private and non-profit sectors, celebrating those who are leveraging digital to transform the UK’s public services and its social and economic opportunities. Our public services and communities offer rich sources of support for health and wellbeing (services, places, activities, events and opportunities) yet information about them is difficult to find: it is dispersed across multiple directories, websites and social media, or not available online at all. 

As health and social care integration progresses, we are challenged to work together across traditional boundaries and with communities to identify and share information about our collective resources. Knowledge is indeed power: the power for citizens to make choices about their own health and wellbeing, based on what matters to them. 

ALISS has been designed by and developed with people with long term conditions to make information about local sources of support more findable. It does this by indexing information about resources and sharing the resulting list with partners who either offer an online service or who come into contact with the general public in the course of their working lives. 

In the last year alone, we have focussed on extending the range of resources indexed within ALISS and our reach into communities via key partners such as GP Practices, the ALLIANCE Links Worker and People Powered Health and Wellbeing Programmes, hospitals, pharmacies and Community Pharmacy Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland,  Volunteer Scotland, SCVO Get Involved, local authorities, third sector interfaces, the Living it Up Programme, Active Scotland, community groups and organisations – and many more. 

Full details of our activities and progress over the last two years will be available in our programme report – available from June 2015. Contact aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk for more information. 

Four members of the ALISS team will be attending the DL100 award ceremony on 25th June 2015 in London.  If you would like to vote for ALISS, please see our guidance on how to vote and make sure you cast your vote by 29th May! 

With thanks to the ALISS team past and present, the ALISS Programme Board and all our colleagues, partners and supporters; without whom we would be unable to offer this unique digital service. 

Jane Ankori, Programme Director (ALISS)

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