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Serious Cyber-Attack Forces Hackney Council to Replace Their Legacy System



What we achieved together

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process efficiency increase

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duplicate data reduced

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secure and consolidated database created from 15 data sources


The client

Hackney Council is a property manager ensuring the safety and maintenance of 30,000 houses throughout East London.

The obstacles faced

Hackney Council needed a simplified and flexible platform that would improve backend processes and enhance the experience of Hackney Council staff and residents. They wanted to provide a system that enabled residents to self-serve where possible and focus Housing Officers on spending time with vulnerable residents who needed more support.

A serious cyber-attack in 2020 forced Hackney Council to replace their Universal Housing system. The attack left staff unable to use the System which booked repairs, managed housing finances and administrated their lease and tenant holders. An emergency interim solution was put in place so that at least a stock of 30,000 homes could be properly managed. The Hackney Housing Services teams were most concerned about supporting vulnerable residents and wellbeing initiatives during the height of the pandemic.  

Hackney Council wanted to first focus on the leaseholder and tenant management system so that housing officers had more time to dedicate on the safety and welfare of its tenants. The engagement was divided into three workstreams: Repairs Hub, Finance and Managing, and Tenants and Leaseholders. Although separate workstreams, it all had to seamlessly work in unison to provide staff and residents with a positive experience.

The journey

Through our acquired cloud native consultancy agency, Amido, we worked together with Hackney Council to develop a management system that would improve the physical and digital presence of their housing officers. We teamed up with Hackney Enterprise Architects to create program-level test and architecture strategies that ensured the workstreams could collaborate effectively across data sets. We also introduced several new concepts:

  • Event driven architecture and micro frontends that permit reusability and scalability.  
  • Shared code libraries (using Nuget packages) that would give Hackney reusable code components that they could reuse across their codebase.

Through close collaboration, our data engineers streamlined and restructured recovered data from Universal Housing and various other spreadsheets, to output one reliable set of data to be migrated to the new system (three disparate databases and 10 spreadsheets were consolidated). This NO-SQL database on AWS provides a single source of truth of Hackney person, tenure and property data alongside a powerful and easily searchable system. The interdependent systems sync data automatically in real time now (due to the event drive architecture) which helps with data integrity, retrieval and a highly responsive API.  

Built with best practice in AWS, Hackney’s now sustainable and future-proofed APIs can be re-used to advance the modernization of other Hackney Council departments and offer further time saving digitization, including tenant-self-service. 

Since future data quality was a strategic focus for Hackney, we arranged collaboration sessions for Hackney and agency teams around data, technical architecture, and front-end development. These sessions served a dual purpose of frequent and transparent updates on progress, as well as valuable knowledge sharing.

Work is also being done to document flows for over 62 existing processes that at some point, will be rebuilt in a new system. This will identify areas where efficiencies can be gained – reducing tasks where possible and driving automation. As of date, Hackney Council has experienced a 40% increase in process efficiency.

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