Dave Worley, a digital take-up advisor at GDS, describes how we are helping services across government to encourage users to use the digital service.
Point 14 of the Digital Service Standard requires services to encourage all of their users to use the digital service (with assisted digital support, if required), and to phase out non-digital alternatives. The digital take-up (DTU) team at GDS works with services to help them achieve this.
There are a couple of parts to our work. There is indeed a channel shift element, and we help existing services to direct their users to the digital route by promoting the benefits. We also help digital government services to ensure they are adhering to point 14 of the Digital Service Standard. This includes helping them identify strengths and weaknesses in their DTU approaches. Good digital take up requires a service that is fully digital from the start (used either independently or with assisted digital support), and not a service supplemented with non-digital alternatives.
We will be sharing our findings from across government. We will do this through our DTU blogs, the service manager community and by encouraging links between similar services.
What does success look like for us?
It’d be easy to say that our goal is 100% of all government transactions to be completed digitally. More realistically, we’re aiming at the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2014 Autumn Statement pledge of increasing digital take up by ten percentage points by the middle of 2016. This will take us above 90% of all transactions completed digitally.
So far, we’ve seen successes such as the Carer’s Allowance service, which has seen a consistent rise in digital service use since October 2013. Another of government’s most used services, HM Revenue & Customs’ Pay As You Earn transactions service, sends over 95% of users through digital routes.
There are challenges of course. We work closely with the assisted digital and digital inclusion teams at GDS to make sure government's efforts to maximise take up don’t exclude those who need our support. It’s also clear that introducing digital services to replace long-standing traditional ones will require departments to transform their approach to service delivery.
What are the benefits?
- efficiency and cost savings
- allows departments to review internal systems and processes
- departments can phase out less used channels as the number of applications through traditional routes decline
By reducing resources spent on these areas, services can then focus on providing support for their users who need it the most.
We’ll be publishing some examples of good practice and lessons learned by services across government over the next few weeks. You’ll be able to see them on the assisted digital blog.