About LGBT Youth Scotland
LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Scotland. They work with 13–25 year olds across the country, promote health and wellbeing, and deliver the LGBT Charter programme to schools, organisations, and businesses.
The TORCH Challenge
Much of LGBT Youth Scotland’s work involves sensitive information about young people. They have proudly digitised their processes and services over recent years, accelerated further by Covid-19. Having done so, they now want to utilise their data in a more integrated and efficient way, with a goal of enabling them to:
- Engage more consistently with the young people they support
- Reduce the manual effort in day-to-day operations for their Youth Workers
- Produce richer reporting and insights to funders and other stakeholders
- Be much more proactive and evidence led in their service design
- Provide stronger evidence of the outcomes of their youth work
It was quickly agreed that the key focus for the assessment was the young person’s journey in their engagement with LGBT Youth Scotland. Alongside the sharing of sample resources, a series of virtual meetings were held between Craig Wynn, Data & Development Manager for LGBT Youth Scotland, and Margery McConnell, TORCH Senior Solutions Architect. Their objective was to develop a ‘map’ of the most important information relevant to their users’ journeys.
Going into their discovery sessions with TORCH, the team felt it was also important to enable their Head of Youth Work, Nicola Booth, to contribute to the discussion,
“Nicola knows better than anyone what her team were struggling with in terms of duplicated information and the current systems. She understands it from what the team are trying to do, what we need to be able to do for young people, and what the meaning of that work really will be if it’s done better” – explained Craig
The TORCH Solution
Alongside streamlining day-to-day operations for the team, the key opportunities identified during the discussion were:
- A gradual, but deliberate, shift away from spreadsheet-based data capture to Apps which share a common underlying database
- A Young Person’s portal to enable them to keep their own information up to date and reflect on their journey
- Capturing feedback at key moments– applicable to Youth Workers, Volunteers and Young People
- Recognising goals and outcomes and how they offer insights for young people and their supporters
- FAQ and other extensions to Live Chat concept to cover more stakeholders and more hours of availability
- Linking information together to allow the wider organisation to see patterns, trends, learnings, and accomplishments
When asked if the project had brought about any unexpected challenges or changes to LGBT Youth Scotland’s ideas, Craig explained,
“There were a number of opportunities (for example, the portal) that we hadn’t thought about before. We are confident when it comes to GDPR, the ethics of data etc., but the more opportunities that come up now, the more we will have to think about those factors.
And, this (again) opens up a conversation with young people around understanding how they feel about their information, how it’s captured, how it’s interpreted, and how it’s reported.”
What’s next for LGBT Youth Scotland’s data project?
TORCH introduced LGBT Youth Scotland to 3 members of the TORCH Supplier Network, 2 of which continued into follow-up conversations and costings for an initial scoping phase.
Whilst LGBT Youth Scotland seek to acquire further funding for the development phase, they are working on building existing systems to a level that will make it easier to migrate to a new one when it’s ready. Long term, the team will begin building a portal that young people can access, with further ambitions to develop it across additional areas of their work.
LGTB Youth Scotland told us,
“TORCH helped us to articulate things in a way that we couldn’t do before. We knew that a database would be helpful, and we were aware of particular technologies that might help us get there. However, being able to really build that out into a clarified business case would have been very challenging for any of us in the charity, because we just lacked the expertise.
The engagement validated things that we already knew, but also made us aware of things that we didn’t really know or hadn’t quite thought about.
What the final report really does is empower us to move the project forward with all stakeholders.”