We continued to help citizens and professionals across Scotland find and share information about a wide range of support and services.
For the ALISS Programme, 2020 began with a wide range of engagement activity, technical development to address some of the key points identified through technical and user research carried out during 2019, and continued work on our refreshed ALISS strategy with the second meeting of our Advisory Group held in January.
As for many others, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted significantly on our plans from Spring onwards and a schedule of engagement activity in Highland, Aberdeenshire and Tayside among others had to be cut short, postponed or cancelled. Our strategy work also paused, as our own focus and that of many partners and stakeholders turned towards the immediate challenges of the pandemic.
Managing information during this time was vital, so an updated information banner was added to all search and results pages of the ALISS website (this link will take you away from our website) and a new COVID-19 category was introduced to enable organisations and groups providing services and support specifically in response to the pandemic to categorise these accordingly and in turn, enable people searching on ALISS to find the relevant information more easily.
In addition, we contacted all ALISS account holders who have been assigned ‘editor’ rights and/or who have ‘claimed’ their own organisation to encourage them to update information listed on ALISS to reflect any changes to services or activities in light of COVID-19. We also engaged with others on emerging responses to ensure ALISS data was available through other channels where people may look for information such as SCVO’s “Coronavirus Community Assistance Directory” and the Scottish Government’s “Clear Your Head” website. With NHS Inform being promoted as a key place for people to go for coronavirus information, our continued partnership work with NHS24 and Macmillan Cancer Support in relation to surfacing ALISS data through Scotland’s Service Directory (SSD) within the NHS Inform website remained particularly relevant.
More generally, the ALISS team, like others, have continued to find new ways to work with partners and stakeholders throughout 2020 in order to maintain contacts, raise awareness and support the use of ALISS. This includes online meetings with local and regional partners from varied teams across the country, as well as attending, participating in, and presenting at variety of webinars and other virtual forums and events.
Technical development of the ALISS system also continued throughout 2020, with a focus on improving the design and accessibility of the front end of the site. A range of further technical development is planned for 2021. Although we begin the new year in challenging times again, due to further lockdown restrictions, we look forward with optimism to picking up on the strategy development work and in time, when circumstances allow, returning to face to face engagement with people in local communities across the country.
Reports of other ALLIANCE programme activities during 2020 can be found in our News section.