- 16,000 Lateral Flow Test bookings were taken in the first month from December to January.
- Project approval to go live spanned only 3 days.
In late 2020, the City of York became one of the first councils to have access to community rapid tests in the country. The authority then set about establishing how they could best distribute asymptomatic testing to have the greatest impact in lowering infection rates which were growing across the country by early December.
With Central Government reporting that up to 1 in 3 could be asymptomatic (GOV.UK, 2021) and the authority catering for a large population of nearly 200,000 people (City of York, 2011), ensuring that lines of transmission could be reduced would be pivotal to the success of the roll out.
The City of York Council would later outline their testing programme to frequently test essential workers, those who can’t work from home and students.
It was decided that the ideal approach would be to deploy a complex new booking system for receiving tests at their St John University and University of York testing centres with the aim of:
- Best managing incoming bookings and prevent queues
- Project staffing requirements per day
- Record the details of visitors prior to their arrival to cut down admin
- Maintain reporting on bookings
The desired system would need to be feasible within a short turnaround period to begin lateral flow testing as soon as possible, while also being cost effective and flexible to removal at a moments notice once the need for testing was reduced.
Having an existing relationship with York through their registration service, York’s IT approached Stopford to determine what would be possible within the timescales projected by management.
Based on the desired specification and required features delivered on the 7th December, Stopford’s management team were able to estimate the system for go live within just three days of sign off.
Upon sign off, the Stopford team quickly went on to designing York’s specified customer front-end, creating pre-made communication templates for COVID booking confirmations and reminders, while also including options for taking bookings via Contact Centre and allowing residents to check-in via mobile upon arrival at their testing centre.
This would all be delivered through a SaaS model that offered optimum flexibility for the authority to cancel use of the system at a moment’s notice.
After going live on the 10th December, the City of York’s lateral flow team were able to record 16,000 bookings over their first month live. This was a significant milestone over such a short space of time, coinciding with the rush of testing demand upon residents planning to see loved ones over the Christmas and New Year window provided by the government at the time.
Councillor Carol Runciman, City of York Council Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“1 in 3 people with coronavirus won’t exhibit symptoms, but they are still able to transfer the virus to those they come into contact with. This is one of the reasons that symptom-free testing is absolutely essential in the way we stop the spread of the virus.
Making sure our residents were able to book a testing slot quickly and easily was an essential part of our symptom-free testing programme. We are grateful to Stopford for their work in building this booking system, it is a good example of City of York Council working with partners to help fight coronavirus in the city.”