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How FutureGov scaled informed consent across remote teams with Consent Kit

A photo of a woman talking in a meeting and a group of people listening.
Future Gov

“Previously, I’ve had to go through the emails to see who has replied to me, and if I need to reply back. In terms of now being able to manage all of that from one place - that’s definitely improved our productivity.”

Mingxi Zhang
Interim Head of Research, Future Gov
BUSINESS TYPE
Agency
INDUSTRY
Public sector
LOCATION
London, UK
TEAM SIZE
30+

Hi Mingxi, could you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you’re doing at FutureGov?

I’m Mingxi, the Interim Head of Research at FutureGov. We support organisations with digital transformation, service design and community development, building on the best of places to organise for change and radically improve outcomes for communities in the 21st century.

About half my time is spent actually doing research, and the other half is looking after our research framework here at FutureGov and managing our research team. Off and on we have 7 or 8 researchers at any time on that programme and I also work with a small team in house who are looking after our community of practice and resolving day to day things.

Consent Kit has been great to streamline our work flow around consent and keep all of it in one place. It’s a challenge to store all the data and permissions consistently, especially with how busy we are and also that we are all working remotely now. Now it’s a lot easier for us to make sure that we’re compliant with GDPR, that we are deleting data and anonymising data and managing that participant pool as well. Consent Kit really helps with that part of things, so we don’t have to worry.

A big part of what we do at FutureGov is to really work with our clients and embed best practice to their ways of working. With Consent Kit we’ve been able to introduce more robust processes around how we engage participants and do compliance. We want to leave them in a better place than when we started. Consent Kit lets us demonstrate: this is a better way of contacting users, of knowing where they are and how we can manage their data while really being confident that we are taking your data and privacy seriously.

Consent Kit lets us demonstrate: this is a better way of contacting users, of knowing where they are and how we can manage their data while really being confident that we are taking your data and privacy seriously.

It’s good that we have something in place so that if something does happen, even months later, we can pull that information easily. It’s peace of mind for both the organisation and for the researchers to see that they don’t have to worry about that part. So, absolutely - Consent Kit really reduces the burden on everyone from that perspective.

I wasn’t involved right at the beginning when Consent Kit was rolled out, but from the feedback we’ve collected the majority of people found it very easy to use. We’re in the process of putting a playbook together on how to best use it, but when I onboard new people I haven’t had anyone come back yet and say “how do I use this” or “how do I use that”.

We’ve had some feedback about the language on a [consent form] template that we created, which was good, because we were able to take that feedback and make the language more logical, include more options in terms of whether or not people are happy to have their photo taken, share their screen or have their voice recorded.

It’s good to give those options to the participant, so that the process is transparent. Especially in the current remote world, it can be a bit harder to establish a personal relationship. So that’s where I think it’s been good for me to have some time to make that template easier to understand.

I think that from a practical point of view - it definitely helps. Even when somebody has left, we can change the ownership of what they have collected to an administrator. So that’s also quite handy.

The first thing that crosses my mind, is definitely the peace of mind for the data handling part. In the public sector, some of the projects we work on might contain quite sensitive personal information about participants, and their personal stories. It’s definitely given us more confidence with that - at least we know the data is taken care of. If by any chance anyone does ask for their data we know we can get it from Consent Kit and tell them confidently that everything has been deleted. So I think that’s definitely the top thing.

whenever I’ve done research previously, I’ve had to go through the emails to see who has replied to me, and if I need to reply back. In terms of now being able to manage all of that from one place - that’s definitely improved our productivity.

Also, I have to say that whenever I’ve done research previously, I’ve had to go through the emails to see who has replied to me, and if I need to reply back. In terms of now being able to manage all of that from one place - that’s definitely improved our productivity. That’s definitely quite a big benefit.

Not even just because now we’ve gone remote - before as well, because sometimes we would take physical consent with us, then bring it back to the office and scan it.

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