DWP claims savings from its first digital service by reducing ineligible claims, head count and print requirement
The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Carer’s Allowance Digital Service has produced significant savings in its first year of operation, according to a report by the Government Digital Service (GDS).
It says there have been cuts in the ineligible claims getting through, and in the head count, printing and customer contact costs, with projections of more to come as take-up increases.
The service – which has been one of the exemplars of the government’s Transformation Programme – came into operation as a public beta in October of last year, providing carers with a digital channel to claim the allowance. According to a GDS blogpost, the take-up has recently hit 67%, accounting for about 7,000 claims per week.
This has provided savings of £128,000 over the past year as only a fifth of the number of ineligible claims go through the digital channel compared with the paper service, while the reduction in the need to print claim forms and responses has saved more than £300,000.
A further saving of £60,000 has been made from acknowledging the receipt of a claim by email rather than post, and the head count in the Carer’s Allowance Unit has been cut by 11%.
In addition, completion rates for online claims have hit 83%, the average time taken to submit a claim has been reduced from 39 to 25 minutes, and user satisfaction rates are at 90%.
One of the key elements in designing the service was to reduce the number of questions for claimants by nearly a half to about 170. This was designed to reflect the perception of customer needs and to help less confident users complete the online claims.
The team behind the service is aiming to increase the take-up level to 80%, and plans to integrate it with the Carer’s Allowance computer system early next year. This should make it possible for the processing of simple claims to be automated and leave staff free to focus on more complex cases.
According to the DWP’s statistical summary, about 738,000 people were claiming the Carer’s Allowance in May of this year, with another 413,000 being entitled to do so.
Although the savings are relatively small, they will provide some support for the cause of looking for more efficiencies through digitising services – expected to be one of the elements of next week’s Spending Review announcement.