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Foreign Office works on system for overseas postings



New digital service to be based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM with use of GOV.UK model for front end

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working on a GOV.UK-style service to support its staff when they are moving to a new post overseas.

It is aiming to build the solution on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, with portals for staff moving to new posts, others who are processing the moves, and a secure database linked to departmental source data with business logic rules.

The project has been launched in response to an understanding that the current support arrangements for staff are insufficient, adding extra pressures to a stressful experience.

The FCO is aiming to create a digital service to support most of its overseas postings – amounting to approximately 14,000 at 280 locations according to a 2015 summary by the National Audit Office – providing information on issues such as expenses, baggage allowances and where they are in the process.

It has completed the discovery and alpha work – using a GOV.UK prototype for the front end and Microsoft Excel for the back end – and has now published a tender for contractors to work with its Digital Transformation Unit on the development of a public beta service to be completed by the end of the financial year.

The choice of Dynamics reflects central government’s priority to make use of commodity IT for new services where appropriate. Similarly, the GOV.UK model for the front end responds to the emphasis on using common platforms.

The department acknowledged that there will be some “edge cases” of overseas postings that will need the support of appropriate teams.

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

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