This central government organisation is undertaking a major Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) transformation programme, and as part of this are looking to deliver new, user-focused services for citizens, customers and caseworkers with the aim of improving, speeding-up and simplifying the application process as much as possible.
Each year 3.4 million applications are submitted, requiring a robust and efficient system to ensure the process runs smoothly.
However, the systems and services in place were failing to meet the needs of customers, namely conveyancers, or caseworkers, causing the following pain points:
- High rework due to 17% of applications containing errors that cause delays, re-submissions and rework
- Customers and caseworkers found the application process confusing
- Customer knowledge of our client’s systems varies, resulting in incomplete or incorrect submissions
- Time-consuming and highly manual task for caseworkers to correct applications
- Difficult for customers to get and understand all the information needed to use the service
- Poor overall experience for customers and caseworkers
This project focussed on improving the application process for conveyancers however, there was also an opportunity for the solution to be an early enabler for the transformation programme and for wider operational initiatives.
Our client ran a competitive tendering process and were looking for a reliable Digital Services provider to provide experts and specialists, and to work collaboratively with in-house teams. Another important requirement was ensuring that our client’s teams were upskilled. The aim being to successfully transfer knowledge, and to ensure new systems and services could be fully maintained by them.
After presenting our business case and options paper, RedRock in partnership with another digital services provider, were delighted to be awarded this exclusive contract to support the DDaT transformation programme.
At RedRock, we underpin all our Managed Professional Service engagements with the same core values:
- Client enablement
- Teams of excellence
Each engagement is directly overseen by one of our Portfolio/Technical Directors to ensure this. From the outset, our Portfolio Director collaborated with the Agency to ensure we fully understood the project’s desired outcomes. This also included monitoring progress and performance, providing updates and support where necessary.
We engaged with in-house teams to develop ideas and fully involved them in the process.
From our discussions with our client, we agreed the overall aims would be:
- Customers can successfully lodge an application
- Develop a robust integrated application solution in line with Government Digital Service (GDS) guidelines
- Increase customer satisfaction with submitting applications
- Caseworkers can identify the service used to lodge the application
- Caseworkers have the required information to process applications to completion stage
- Streamlined and simplified guidance and advice for customers
- Improved Management Information and Analytics to monitor customer activity and inform future developments
Based on these needs RedRock was able to provide our client with a multi-disciplined, experienced digital service team of 30 staff, working in blended teams alongside our supply partner and client. This team was made up of:
- Delivery Leads
- Business Analysts
- User Researchers
- Content Designers
- UX Designers
- Technical Leads
- Test Engineers
- Product Coaches
- Agile Coach
Following GDS guidelines, the team carried out an initial time-boxed discovery to identify:
- Business requirement
- User needs
- User journeys
- Outline technical solution
- Business case to justify the project
Thorough user research of the groups below was undertaken to confirm we understood all issues customers and caseworkers were facing and could ensure these would be addressed in any proposed solutions.
- Leadership Teams and Senior
- Responsible Owners
- Product Management
- Change Representatives
- IT Delivery Team
- Infrastructure, Data, Fraud, Security and Legal Teams
As a result, the delivery team developed a prototype of a fully functional, clickable online digital service that replaced forms with online data capture and validation. This allowed user researchers to demonstrate the end to end user journey and obtain timely feedback to support continuous improvement.
For the build phase, the delivery team collaboratively designed an Agile Release Train style of working that:
- Prioritises the product backlog
- Defined a Minimum Viable Product to be built
- Implements a supply chain so that user stories and features are constantly built, tested and deployed into a production environment
- Maintains required quality checkpoints and processes
Key quality requirements, such as accessibility, were imbedded in acceptance criteria for user stories. Appropriate accessibility testing was conducted throughout the development and testing regime, not simply applied at the end.
The delivery team together with our client’s Product Manager identified a small group of early adopter customers to pilot the solution with, and the feedback gained was then incorporated before being released to a larger customer base.
The solution was regularly demonstrated to both internal and external stakeholders to publicise accomplishments as the project proceeded.
The delivery team took a ‘deliver incrementally, early and often’ approach, allowing them to:
- Reduce risk and uncertainty
- Deliver value to the customer much earlier
- Increase their knowledge while completing the development faster
With our client’s technical team joining during the build phase, the delivery team has also emphasised lifelong learning principles and applied skill pairing, peer review and retrospective ceremonies to upskill our client’s staff and allow team input/feedback to be captured and shared.
Feedback on the new Digital Registration Service from early adoption customers has been very positive and the delivery team is now focussed on regular deployment of new features. The service now supports many more forms used by conveyancing organisations.
The new service is highly validated and integrated with back-office systems which will:
- Reduce form-related confusion and errors
- Reduce re-submissions and re-work required due to errors
- Provide more relevant and timely guidance to customers
- Reduce the time spent by applicants completing submissions
- Provide a solution that enables further transformation of products and services
- Improve management information and analytics to better inform decision making
- Enable integration with core systems
- Allow data collected to be shared with other systems
- Reduce requests to customers to provide data already held by our client
- Enable future savings in the broader digital transformation programme by allowing pre-population of register entries
- Achieve a time saving for customers of up to 15 minutes per application, saving thousands of processing hours while providing significant cost savings
Less tangible returns on investment of this initiative are:
- Better Data Quality – Enhanced validation, pre and auto-population of data, and improved guidance and content
- Improved user/caseworker satisfaction by providing consistency with standardisation and better processes
- Reputation – Better data to support increased integrity of the Register
The delivery team has successfully worked together with our supply partner and our client to shape and deliver this valuable solution. This project has demonstrated the true value of a multi-disciplinary blended team working together towards one common goal.
This project is modernising and reshaping this government organisation, empowering their people by developing internal skills and building capacity.