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DWP rolls out Searchlight customer information system



Digital team plans to move system to Amazon hybrid cloud and deploy to 100,000 users across Whitehall departments

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is rolling out a new customer information system to support its staff in dealing with claims around benefit payments, allowances and credits.

Named Searchlight, a prototype version is now being used by 20,000 DWP employees and will be deployed to a further 80,000 users from inside the department, HM Revenue & Customs, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the Ministry of Defence, Scottish Government and local authorities.

Its development has been outlined by the scrum master for the project, Stephen Hedley, in a DWP Digital blogpost that celebrates it picking up the award for Best Public Sector Project at last week’s National Technology Awards.

He says it has been created using agile methodology to replace an ageing interface for customer information that involved the use of multiple screens, bringing it together onto a single page.

It was designed using the Java Node JS open source scripting platform with adherence to industry-level security and accessibility standards, and to provide a consistent experience on PCs, tablets and smartphones. Infrastructure components include an API gateway to authenticate and authorise users to access specific data.

New features

There are now plans move Searchlight onto the Amazon Web Services hybrid cloud platform used by DWP and to add extra features. These will include the ability for authorised users to update and view historical customer data, and to allocate national insurance numbers to new customers.

Hedley adds: “We’re constantly iterating the application design to address user feedback and to take account of stakeholder inputs, such as accessibility and GDS standards.

“The outcome is a product that not only seeks to achieve the latest industry security standards as per the original business case, but also delivers significant business benefits to the department as a whole, due to the vast input from users informing what is really needed for their business processing. And we’re also GDPR compliant.”

Image by bradleypjohnson, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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