Giving Victorian’s agency over their bushfire recovery journey 

Read the case study

In collaboration with

Bushfire Recovery Victoria

When fires engulfed 1.5m hectares of land in Victoria, there were 2,687 calls to the Bushfire Recovery Victoria hotline. Residents faced a siloed recovery ecosystem, blanketed in bureaucracy. In this raw and emotional landscape, Symplicit worked alongside stakeholders to co-design a better solution for individuals and communities.

Decorative - drawing of an arrow pointing downwards

The Ask

Mapping people's support needs, based on pain points and wider systemic issues.

We conducted desktop research, stakeholder workshops, co-design sessions, Top Tasks surveys, heuristic evaluations and user testing.

We mapped people’s experiences from life before the disaster through to early, mid and longer term recovery. We identified citizen pain points and wider systemic issues, and investigated the role of coordinating agencies like Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) and their communication channels (hotline, social media, community hubs, apps). We mapped people's support needs over time and identified the role of local government, state government, community service organisations, corporations, local businesses and community members.

If this wasn’t enough, we created user stories to make sure we designed for people’s unique experiences. We considered the person who needs tailored financial and mental health support (the inundated survivor), the person who wants to take control and self-service (the self isolator), the person who needs a little more in-person guidance (the collected recoverer), and volunteers who want to help (the compassionate volunteer).

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The Solution

A co-designed portal, providing access to support services all in once place.

After hours, days, weeks, months of investigation and deliberation. We did it. We co-designed a portal where people can manage all the services in one place. Somewhere to apply for a support payment, connect with a recovery support worker, and have a tailored profile with data sharing preferences. The portal caters to the six highest value scenarios from the Top Task analysis; support for housing, property, finance, health and wellbeing, children’s services, legal aid and insurance. We found a way to help reduce the trauma of telling your story over and over, of providing the same documentation over and over (that’s if the documentation is in tact in the first place).

When you’re overwhelmed and your emotional resilience is shattered you just need something that works. That’s exactly what we designed. A portal where people only have to tell their story once, making it easier for them to share information and access the support they need, when they need it.

Mobile app showing support. Connecting individuals, families, communities, businesses and regions to rebuild and recover after bushfires.

The Impact

Giving people access to the resources they need, when they need it.

Disasters like the 2019/2020 bushfires in Victoria will continue to happen. Working with Bushfire Recovery Victoria we have created a proof of concept for the next generation of disaster recovery coordination (with an accompanying three year development plan no less). We are enabling the ecosystem to be more effective in how we coordinate recovery today to continually improve for the future.