The Digital Economy Act 2017 enables greater powers to share Registration Services data for birth, deaths and marriages with other local public sector partners – the common ‘problem’ is identifying for what purpose, how to share, and what are the business benefits of doing so.
The existing successful ‘Tell Us Once’ service already in existence for sharing Registration Services data with other public sector services does not have a 100% take-up, is not used in all authorities and does not cover marriages. New additions to legislation subject to application and information governance processing, provides an opportunity to increase take-up to 100% and also include marriage data.
The discovery phase will explore the benefits of securely sharing this data to support various services such as; planning provision, safeguarding children and adults and preventing fraud.
The key objectives (to solve problems) are anticipated to be at this point:
- Research & testing of potential use cases with users
- To investigate the avoidable financial costs & savings by legally sharing registration data
- To understand organisational benefits to each authority and scaling nationally
- To recognise the impact on the public (both tax payer and residents in receipt of services)
To consider the benefits of creating common data models and standards as well as API’s to enable connection between agencies & associated services.
Discovery will use current resource from Worcestershire partners with funding to backfill some existing activity, supported by external specialists. Worcestershire County Council (including WODA team members) will lead the project assuming ultimate responsibility. We will use input/expertise from Suffolk County and Hull City Councils by involvement in user research/steering groups/show & tells.
This is a common problem across England and we will therefore work with a member of the National Panel for Registration to ensure the solution provides a common approach.
Project sprints for ‘problems’ measured by success criteria will be supplemented by development and publishing of robust assets.
|Key Activities / Events||Milestones||Deadline|
|● Project kick off meeting
● Project partners formalised agreement
|● Data analysis, info gathering, review of info governance (IG) needs
● Engage National Panel for Registration member
|Baselining & data gathering complete||25.1.19|
|● Core team established, resource allocation
● Team complete GDS Academy training
|Multidisciplinary team formed||25.1.19|
|· Build hypotheses, plan & carry out user research, test IG (round 1)||User research round 1 complete||15.2.19|
|● Process review
● Plan user research (round 2)
|V1 of process produced||20.2.19|
|● Engage & test process with users
|Draft process tested||22.2.19|
|● Build hypotheses plan & carry out user research, test IG (round 2)||User research round 2 complete||1.3.19|
|● Iterate||V2 of process produced||10.3.19|
|● Process tested with remaining user groups & iterated (as required)||Process finalised||15.3. 19|
|● Write up & share the project findings:
○ Business case
○ User research report
○ Recommendation report
|Discovery outputs produced & shared||25.3.19|
Current Cost of the Problem
In England, there were c.880,000 births, deaths and marriages in 2017. Registration Services therefore collect large amounts of personal data. Each registration of a birth, death or marriage involves personal contact with government agencies which is more time consuming than necessary, estimating to consume more than 500,000 hours per annum of local government service time. Once the data is captured, this valuable information is not used to the full extent that is possible legally to support other key local government requirements, e.g. notification of death to stop benefit payments.
To enable LAs to put in place common standards (IG and data models) around sharing, integrating, and using registration data to support services such as planning provision, safeguarding children and adults and fraud investigation. This would potentially provide significant cost savings and efficiency benefits locally and nationally, based on volumes of births, marriages and deaths in England.
To identify and iterate service user needs, pain points and technical constraints around the use of Registration Data across partner organisations (e.g. between district and county authorities and with other government departments). At the end of Discovery, we aim to have identified the user needs and requirements across the three consortium LAs and be ready to move to Alpha or recommend other actions.
Benefits for Service Providers
Less time to register births, deaths and marriages – estimated at tens of thousands of pounds per authority. More benefits gained for re-using this information legally to support activities such as planning provision of local services, removing barriers by verification services, safeguarding children, fraud, and improving statistics for planning/ policy decisions.
Benefits for Residents
Less time and less complexity in processes to register births, deaths and marriages, leading to better public services
As Worcestershire has already digitalised it’s registration transactional services (and learnings can be shared with others nationally), the next maturity step is to unlock the real value of the data by enabling other services to use this data via integration. WODA has an existing working partnership within Worcestershire which includes County and District Councils, Health, Fire, and Police. We also have support from Suffolk County Council and Hull City Council.
We will collaborate on user research between project partners, sharing findings and outputs and learning via pipeline, Slack, github and Trello. We will follow up interest from our Local Digital project listing. We will explore current networks for collaboration through our partners.
We will look to use external expertise to add to our partners’ and use this external expertise to utilise their network to extend collaboration with others.
|Output to solve Problems||Action||General Principles|
|Business Case||Follow agile project management
Outline to partners what data is available
Info gathering & analysis of registration data exploring problems and opportunities with partners
Investigate avoidable financial costs & savings – singular/ cumulative modelling.
Scale organisational benefits; system wide and outcomes for residents
Outline additional benefits to others (e.g. other government agencies providing services)
|Use agile methodology & Multidisciplinary team
Inclusion & satisfaction of partner LA feedback
Requesting other LA’s feedback (those less digitalised)
Screening for accessibility & easy read
Approval via IG Group
WODA Programme Group sign off
Lead partner signatory approval
Publication of project development & learning (Local Digital, Pipeline, Trello, Slack, github, authority websites)
|User Research Report||Research & test potential use cases with users
Final summary report produced
|Conclusions and Recommendations Report||Understand the impact on public (tax payer and residents in receipt of services)
Consideration of requirements of data & possible digital solutions
Recommendations (more discovery required/alpha)
Project timescales align to alpha application deadline
|Proof of concept / spec credentials)||Produce suggested concept requirements to enable future procurement
Common data standards & common digital components incl. standard clauses for supplier contracts driving the uptake of standards, better services to councils & more efficient procurement processes in line with Digital Service Standards
Create alpha spec for supplier to prototype for next phase
|Suggested KPIs||Registration Data KPIs developed measuring improvements in public services & compliment other reporting needs.
Defined by business case – scale of problem/ size of opportunity.
Our key user groups are a mixture of service professionals in local government organisations. We will aim to do user research with these different multi-agency groups to define the value of using registrations data to enhance services including better decision-making, lower risk of data sharing, and cashable savings and better outcomes from improved support.
Our project will begin with baseline research including a literature review and synthesis of findings from our own data and that of our project partners.
We will constantly test with users with two specific sprints of user research and an option to conduct an additional round for final iteration purposes. User research lab sessions will be used to gather input from service professionals who have/have never previously used registrations data. For example:
- Market Research Officers and Local Planners: How to effectively plan the provision of local services & improve statistics for planning & policy decisions based on birth data predicting demand for homes and education
- Residents & Customer Service Agents: Remove barriers by automating verification services enabling consistent data collection at fewer points of contact for public
- Social Workers: How to proactively safeguard children and adults via instant notification of changes to the household (e.g. births, marriages and disability)
- Fraud Investigators: How to prevent Fraud using known details of households (births, marriages, deaths)
We will test whether these and other problems relate to other places using our partner network.
User Research Objectives
- Test understanding of how their registrations data can legally be shared
- Understand how our service professional users may get benefit from using registrations data for service delivery
- Deepen our understanding of service professional users, their needs, workflows and decisions
- Better understand how to build and then improve a prototype which meets the service professional users’ needs
To deliver the Discovery phase we will be using our existing experienced project team who work in an agile way that is focused on the user experience. We have also identified a partner who has vast experience in Local Authority data sharing projects and they will offer us additional guidance, coaching and support to enhance our current skills.
We would still like to be able to benefit from:
- Access to GDS user research labs as we would benefit from assurance in this area and it would help us bring down the project cost for user research sessions
- Assurance from GDS on adherence to open data standards
- Ability to send communications via MHCLG channels (e.g. newsletter, social media, etc) to help us ‘work out loud’
- Help with sharing the outputs with the local government sector
Help with engaging with other county councils that may want to feed into our project.
WODA and Worcestershire County Council have not been granted funding for this project in the past and do not have current budget allocation to fund the discovery element of this project within the time period. There is a commitment and interest to pursue opportunities for cost savings and avoidance as well as commitment to deliver better public services as per the Digital Declaration, whereby the discovery would test the feasibility of the project delivering successful outcomes.