Transforming legal advice services with online attendance notes

Rights of Women's legal advice and services help women to understand and use their legal rights, and make safe and informed decisions about important issues in their lives.

We designed and built an online advice platform for Rights of Women to record their attendance note data from the phone calls received by their advice lines.

Project highlights

  • Web-based application can be accessed from anywhere by staff and volunteers, enabling advice services to be truly remote.
  • Easy to use online form allows advisers to capture attendance note data in real time, and enforces consistent data collection.
  • Powerful reporting features are available to all staff, empowering managers to get the data they need for their own advice lines, and saving time for the organisation as a whole.
  • Ability to cross reference multiple data points has created new opportunities to identify themes for policy and campaigning.


Rights of Women manage six advice lines, across four different areas of the law. Advice lines have their own processes and each collect unique information from their callers. However, some data is intended to be consistent across all lines.

Legacy systems meant data collection on the advice lines was subject to laborious processes that left room for important information to go unrecorded or to be recorded inconsistently. Staff and volunteers used Word document templates to make records of their own calls. The office manager would need to manually input all of this across two different databases, and a survey monkey form and a spreadsheet. This was very time consuming for a single member of staff, taking them away from other important tasks that were part of their role.

Reporting on data across the organisation required a lot of manual intervention. In addition, the way different lines collected their data had been able to deviate over time. So the same question might be asked in three different ways, or have different sets of options depending on where it was being asked.

Rights of women needed an online advice platform that would:

  • Streamline data collection wherever possible across the advice lines
  • Enable staff and volunteers to input their own notes while they are working on the line
  • Take the pain out of reporting, and allow the organisation to do much more with their data.

The new platform would also crucially need to meet the unique needs of all six advice lines. For example:

  • Functionality for staff to review volunteer attendance notes
  • Support for different types of follow-up activities and internal reviews

Existing processes and points of view were varied across the lines, so Rights of Women needed an agency who would support them in reaching a clear vision for how the new platform would realise their needs.

You've built for us the most incredible platform that we can now do so much with as an organisation. It's transformed and revolutionised what we're doing.

Estelle Du Boulay
Director, Rights of Women


'MLP' workshopping

When working on a complex, fixed-budget project, we use the term 'MLP' = 'Minimum Loveable Product', to focus on the minimum set of features that will satisfy the essential needs of our client, and let us build a testable product that users feel good about. With a project like this one, involving a diverse group of stakeholders, inevitably comes a long list of features that people would like to have. It isn't possible to build them all within the budget, and it isn't practical to build them all at once, before users have fully tested a basic product to really understand how it's going to work with them. So, we focus on MLP features:

  • What can't the organisation live without
  • What doesn't have a simple alternative
  • What adds the most value

All other features remain on the 'backlog'. We build the MLP and lead users through testing it. Any new requirements or changes are added to the backlog. Before starting each successive round of development, we worked with Rights of Women to prioritise the backlog based on need and available budget. This regular workshopping meant that we maintained a shared vision of what the end product was going to be, and all stakeholders fully understood each decision about what was included and what wasn't.

Easy to use online form

One aspect of the online platform was that most questions would be mandatory to answer, whereas previously they could be skipped. This meant it was super important for the form to be easy to use so there would be buy in from staff and volunteers.

  • Autosaves as you go, so advisers can jump to different pages as they are talking to the client.
  • Signposts to incomplete questions, showing what needs to be mopped up at the end of the call

Flexible form structure

Our back-end design strikes the balance between the form being configurable for each advice line, while maintaining consistency to ensure Rights of Women get the best set of data they can. Advice lines can share a whole page of questions, or can have visibility of only certain questions on a page. The order of pages is unique to each line, so this can fit with the usual flow of their calls.

Supports multiple workflows

  • Staff publish their own attendance notes.
  • Volunteer attendance notes get reviewed and published by staff.
  • Various types of follow-up activities and internal reviews that can be linked to an attendance note, depending on the advice line.
  • Helpful signposting from a user dashboard to remind about attendance notes that need to be submitted, published or reviewed.

Multi-level reporting

We've built three core levels of reports, which allows staff to get as high-level or as granular as they need to, with just a few clicks, and with the most common reporting filters all available up front (e.g. advice line, type of caller, type of call).

  • Answer reports - designed mainly for strategic use, answer reports enable the cross-referencing of multiple points of data so the organisation can see how many callers shared a particular set of characteristics. E.g. How many callers defined themselves as disabled, and were at risk of domestic violence. Up to six different data points can be referenced.
  • Question reports - designed to quickly get a breakdown of the answers to a single question. E.g. Caller types for the last quarter, or Caller nationalities for the last year.
  • CSV downloads - get larger quantities of data in a format you can manipulate externally. Use up front filters to get required subsets of data to speed things up, e.g. only certain advice lines, certain pages and/or certain caller types.

Everyone is saying it's a lot easier than the previous system, both in terms of completing attendance notes and reviewing attendance notes. Volunteers are saying it's a lot easier as well. As a manager, it's making it a lot easier for me reporting wise. I feel like we have a much more consistent set of data.

Mandip Ghai
Senior Legal Officer (Family and Criminal Law), Rights of Women
The result is a platform that has streamlined processes, is saving time, and creating new opportunities for Rights of Women through insightful data.

Do you have a service that's crying out for digital transformation?

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