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Oscar Kilo

Delivery of a complete UX-focused website rebuild to improve the experience for users and internal teams

Oscar Kilo is the home of the National Police Wellbeing Service. It’s a place where police forces and their officers and staff can access resources, information, events, training and workshops centred around mental health and wellbeing.

Due to its success and expansion as a programme over the years, Oscar Kilo had outgrown its previous systems. The website required updating to meet its users’ needs, fulfil the evolving brand vision, and ensure ease of use across an ever-expanding service. With these increasing demands, the online booking, events and administrations systems needed automating to be truly user driven.

Cyber-Duck was engaged to improve the experience for both internal staff and users by designing and building an updated, accessible, user-friendly website. Although there was desire to establish Oscar Kilo as a distinct standalone brand, as a programme of work, it does sit with the College of Policing and so also needed to reflect this. We delivered a complete digital transformation, encompassing user experience strategy, service design, branding and a full website rebuild, consolidating their services onto one centralised platform.

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What is Oscar Kilo?

Oscar Kilo is the brand, identity and  online home of the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS). It provides support and guidance for police forces across England and Wales in building and improving organisational wellbeing.

It is evidence based and sector specific. Developed for policing, by policing, it is designed to meet the unique needs of police forces, officers and staff focusing on key areas such as; trauma and psychological risk, occupational health, peer support, personal resilience, leadership and your overall wellbeing at work.

Sitting within the College of Policing, and working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Home Office, it aims to:

  • Help police forces build world-class wellbeing support for everyone who works for them.
  • Improve knowledge and understanding of help and support available.
  • Reduce stigma around seeking support or help.
  • Encourage people to support themselves and realise their own potential.
  • Improve personal resilience and self-help skills.

Our objectives

  1. Establish the Oscar Kilo brand on the website as separate from, but in alignment with, the College of Policing
  2. Make processes less manual and more efficient for internal teams
  3. Create a UX and accessibility strategy, improving user experience and fulfilling their legal requirements as a public body website
  4. Create scope for expansion, giving them a good base to keep up with demand and continue building and improving in the future

Alongside training and support through each of the workstreams through the Oscar Kilo website, it also offers additional resources, news, best practice, access to events, training and information at both an organisational and individual level.

Among many other services, the website is the home of the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework, an interactive online organisational assessment. This allows individual police forces to create bespoke frameworks for their organisation to benchmark their current provision, which can then be peer reviewed.

Oscar Kilo also uses the website to offer access to the wellbeing outreach service, bespoke vans which can be booked to deliver physical, psychological, and financial health checks for officers and staff.

There are practitioner communities and member only areas for the OK9 wellbeing dog, Operation Hampshire and Occupational Health practitioner networks– allowing members to access key documentation and good practice hubs.

It’s also the home of MindFit Cop, an online mindfulness course open to all officers and staff and houses resources for raising awareness and promoting good mental and physical wellbeing across forces such as promotional campaign materials, podcasts and toolkits.

What did they need from Cyber-Duck?

From an initial inspirational idea, over the years, Oscar Kilo has grown significantly.

Before the advent of the National Police Wellbeing Service as it is now, Oscar Kilo had existed as a website from 2017 purely to host the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework online and provide access to limited resources and information to assist police forces in addressing any gaps identified in their provision. 

From it’s initial launch, every geographic force in the UK had ‘signed up’ and created a BLWF using the Oscar Kilo website, alongside several other types of police force and policing organisations such as British Transport Police, National Crime Agency etc.

When the National Police Wellbeing Service was launched in 2019, because Oscar Kilo already had that engagement across policing nationally, it became the brand and the online home for its delivery and so needed to grow to reflect this.

Originally, their online booking and event systems were built in WordPress, using multiple third-party systems, resulting in technical debt. Many of their processes were not digitised, requiring time-consuming manual data input. The old site was not user centred, and as such it lacked a clear purpose and navigation for users, who were often confused about what was on offer through Oscar Kilo.

As a public sector service, Oscar Kilo had a legal duty to comply with accessibility guidelines and follow GDS (Government Digital Service) and GOV.UK Service Standards. Cyber-Duck is highly experienced helping public sector clients to reach these standards, making us the perfect choice to help create their new platform.

Although it initially grew as a programme within Lancashire Constabulary, Oscar Kilo is a separate, independent ‘hybrid’ programme reporting into various national bodies. However, the legal governance is through the College of Policing, and their new website and brand identity had to make this alignment clear.

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Establishing what they needed with user research

Oscar Kilo’s previous platform was built without a user-centred focus, resulting in issues with organisation and navigation. Many users didn’t fully understand what was on offer from Oscar Kilo.

We started off with a heuristic UX evaluation and accessibility audit, which helped us to identify some key areas that needed improvement. We underwent in-depth immersion, through working closely with subject matter experts within Oscar Kilo, to better understand their online services so we could experience them from a user’s point of view. We also ran stakeholder research workshops to gather further insights from the team at Oscar Kilo around their current pain points in running the service, and gaps in knowledge around users.

This was followed by in-depth interviews with a broad range of users, across policing, to understand their needs and the role that Oscar Kilo plays (and has played) in their careers, their teams, and their overall wellbeing.

This multi-pronged research helped us to understand what both the internal staff and external users needed and expected from the new platform. We established that we needed to radically reduce the amount of manual work for the internal team. The website needed a more coherent identity, and users needed a simpler, more intuitive navigation to help them find and access the right services.

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Developing the new website with Drupal 9

The new website was built using Drupal 9. Many sub-systems were created in the CMS (Content Management System), coming together to produce a single, highly efficient interface through which all of Oscar Kilo’s services can be delivered. A completely new event management system is embedded in the Drupal site, empowering the Oscar Kilo team to create events, promote links, and take registration details in one centralised system.

As Oscar Kilo’s user base is broad, with varying needs at different levels of the police force, the new site allows for different levels of administration and access rights depending on the user. 

The unique van booking system, event booking and member only areas were an amalgamation of different elements, so they called for bespoke solutions. Our developers combined ready-made modules built by the Drupal community with custom-built modules for optimum functionality.

We built a more organised and efficient van booking system completely from scratch, giving Oscar Kilo’s team a long-term view of when the van is available, who’s booked it, and all other pertinent information.

Although this required complex back-end code, the system appears simple and intuitive in the UI, and users can now easily book a van entirely through the website. 

Other key features and services, including MindFit Cop and the Blue Light Framework, were redesigned for excellent UX, rebuilt from scratch by our developers, and are now fully run and hosted on the new website. 

Back-end and front-end development happened in parallel, and there was continuous collaboration between the developers and UX team throughout. This was the first project where we implemented our new Cyber-Duck component library, Gin.  This was built to serve as a base for building new Drupal sites more efficiently, while still allowing for full customisation and unique styling.

Building on Drupal 9 means that the site is scalable for the future, and can be easily upgraded to Drupal 10 and further versions of Drupal. This versatility has recently been confirmed with a request for a complex feature of logic and branching, with a questionnaire that also requires self-administration.

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Results and ongoing work

Oscar Kilo now has a highly functional and scalable website, which can be expanded and built upon as the organisation and its services grow. Users now have a clear purpose and can navigate the site easily. The internal team have a single, efficient interface to work with, reducing their workload and saving time. 

This was a significant project for us. It involved a complete end-to-end transformation of Oscar Kilo’s operations, encompassing UI, UX and service design, Drupal and much more, and digitising services which were previously manual. It will also continue to impact the way we work on other projects at Cyber-Duck thanks to the new component library. 

Having developed the new website with Agile methodology, we will continue to iterate and make improvements based on incoming user feedback.

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