Government Digital Service – putting user needs at the heart of service design and delivery

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Whilst working with The Government Digital Service (GDS) Allon was asked to review DWP’s transactions and identify a service that could be redeveloped using agile techniques. Scoring DWP’s transactions against four criteria – ability to meet user needs, speed of delivery, business value and cost – he recommended the Carer’s Allowance online claim service as the best candidate.

The Carer’s Allowance online claim service had been built without research and left to run in an increasingly unreliable way for over 5 years.

Allon identified DWP staff with deep knowledge of the service and keenness to learn a new way of working. He completed the team with GDS digital production and delivery specialists.

An 8 week Discovery phase identified significant opportunities to deliver against the original assessment criteria. During this phase:

  • Research with current and potential users of the service identified high level user needs
  • Technical options for the service were evaluated
  • Business rationalisation opportunities were identified

Moving into the Alpha phase, a working end to end service was built over a period of six weeks. This allowed user research that refined the user needs and further develop a technical approach along with any supporting processes required to run the service.

A further three iterations – over a period of six weeks – were made to ensure the service was sufficiently robust for a restricted group of genuine claimant in the next phase – Private Beta.

The service moved successfully from Private to Public Beta and then into fully accredited Live government service.