Regular readers of this blog will know that the transformation programme is supporting the redesign of 25 government services by March 2015 - making them simpler, clearer and faster to use.
Online electoral registration represents a huge change to the democratic process. You can now join the electoral register using a digital transaction that takes just a few minutes to complete. This makes it quicker and simpler for people to exercise their right to vote in elections and referendums. I registered yesterday - it really is a painless process! The low-down on the service can be found in Mark O’Neill’s blog.
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint people to make health and financial decisions on your behalf. This allows you to plan your future care, in case there is a time when you cannot make those decisions for yourself. The new online service - built collaboratively between the Office of the Public Guardian, GDS and MoJ Digital Services - allows users to make their application quickly, and in their own homes. Kit Collingwood’s blog tells you more about this.
The release of the two services described above represents a fantastic achievement for each of the teams involved and they should certainly take a moment to enjoy their success. That said, going live is not the end of the process: services are improved continuously, based on user feedback and analytics, and new features will be added and iterated as necessary.
Another service, Prison Visit bookings, entered its beta phase this month. The service is now in use at a number of public male Category B prisons, and below, Youth and Women’s prisons in England and Wales.This means that friends and family of offenders can make visit booking requests online at a time that suits them - via mobile, tablet and desktop computers. If you’re interested in how prisons are adapting to the new service, check out this post on the MoJ digital blog.
In my last monthly blog I mentioned I’d been in Glasgow at the Student Loans Company (SLC) at the beginning of May. It was a really useful visit which highlighted the importance of customer testing, analytics and the civil servant as the user.
We began working with SLC in March 2012 and there’s a significant programme of work ahead to deliver together. Although I’ve been involved in the Digital Transformation programme since its inception I had not previously visited the SLC - so it was great to finally make it to Glasgow and be shown a number of projects that are being delivered by agile teams. I spent time speaking with SLC colleagues, and their various delivery partners, about their new services, user testing and analytics.
What really stood out to me was the improvements to back office systems being made at SLC: I’m conscious that being ‘user focussed’ can sometimes mean that needs of internal users are overlooked because the emphasis is on the end-user/public. Making more user centred systems for civil servants (those who actually have to process applications and claims etc) is a key part of digital transformation. Thanks to Jen Caira & Fiona Mackie for their demonstrations.
Bobby King, a data analytics expert in the team, showed the importance of the analysis of dropout rates within the ‘Student finance’ journey to expose areas for service improvements. He was also able to explain how useful it was to be co-located with developers who could fix bugs that he picked up through his analysis - by being in the same office, being able to talk, explain and collaborate made the process more immediate and effective.
Brian Hodgson – who I first met co-facilitating a session on User Research at SPRINT Share - talked me through customer testing and product development, highlighting the development cycles and challenges for potential new features such as online statements.
I was also shown work by Susan Lindley, product owner on a service for Higher Education Institutions - and her colleague Gemma Ruddick, who talked me through the work she’s been doing on defining the product and prioritising stories.
A big thanks to all those who took time out of their busy schedules to show me what they’re working on. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from the SLC over the next few months.
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