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DWP digital chief sets out four goals


Mark Say Managing Editor


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has four major digital goals for the next year, according to its chief digital and information officer.

Simon McKinnon

Simon McKinnon has set out the priorities for the DWP Digital team in a blogpost, following up its work to support surges in home working and applications for universal credit sparked by the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said the first step is to maximise the performance and stability of digital services. The department can build on its framework for managing technical debt in its infrastructure with planned refresh cycles, evergreen upgrade approaches and the increasing use of cloud services.

Now it wants to focus more on the replacement rather than the repair of its application portfolio.

Its second goal is to speed up the strategic transformation of services, with steps such as automating more changes of circumstances, building new shared components and ensuring that existing services share data and life events.

McKinnon said DWP Digital has been running experiments and has more lessons to learn, but is now confident in its approach and is making progress with the use of shared components, including evidence and identity management and channels such as video and web chat.

Innovation, capabilities and capacity

Third is continuing to innovate, with priorities including identifying fraud through data analytics and machine learning, building conversational telephony services and new low code solutions.

Fourth is to build capabilities and capacity. McKinnon said a significant step was taken last year with the plan to bring DWP Digital together with the department’s digital tech provider BPDTS. The merger will take place on 1 July.

“Going forward we will look to nurture and develop everyone across the organisation through a variety of learning opportunities,” he added.

“We already have some great initiatives around diversity, wellbeing and inclusion, and I want to make sure we continue and grow these so that we’re making sure everyone in the department feels they are supported.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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