Department for Work and Pensions

How listening to users reshaped Carer's Allowance

Department for Work and Pensions

The UK Department for Work and Pensions needed to reimagine the way that Carers could claim their allowance online.

Valtech is delighted to have successfully built our and the Department for Work and Pension (DWP)’s first Government Digital Service (GDS) exemplar: re-imagining the new digital, Carer's Allowance service. The project was required to replace the non-compliant and challenging interface of the original site, helping to move as many users from the paper format transaction process to online. Prior to the launch of the new service an estimated 3.2 million people were performing 250k transactions a year, but only around 20% were completed online. With the Government Digital Service mandating that all new or redesigned transactional services are ‘digital by default’ by April 2014, this was a critical project for the department.

Throughout all the projects we work on, whether it be public or private sector, we design, develop and deliver with the users in mind 100% of the time. This user-centricity is the most important factor in producing a service that people will use. On Carer's for example, we repeatedly showed releases of the service to actual carers in a Guerilla testing set-up, recorded their responses and behaviours and fed this back to the organisation. What quickly developed was a realisation that the people who use the service, and those who wrote it originally were not in line. In order to make the Carer's Allowance online claim form an attractive service to use, department policy had to change. This was a big step and a key reason why Carer's has been described by the GDS as an "Exemplary Exemplar."

Its responsive design was made possible through the use of Typesafe’s technology stack of Scala and Play. This provides an intuitive user experience that is both powerful and functional.

The government blogs have given a big shout out to Valtech for our involvement in this here and here.

For further information about user centric design and development, check out this presentation by Kevin Murray on Digital Inclusion: