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GDS works on status tracking platform



Minister says ‘where’s my’ could provide single route to check on applications

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is working on a status tracking platform to provide a route for checking on the progress of applications for a range of government services.

Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock flagged up the project in a speech at the National Digital Conference, in which he outlined the priorities for the work on digital government.

He said the platform is being prototyped for use by any government service and that it would allow people to track and trace applications, requests, purchases and repayments in a few clicks.

“We’re thinking of calling it ‘where’s my’,” he said. “So whether you’re tracking a passport, or a driving licence application, a common platform has the potential to give a better service at a lower cost.

“It makes life simpler for public servants too, freeing them to focus on what really matters: delivering their core service.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said it is unable to provide any more detail at the moment.

Some central government tracking services, such as for driving licence and passport applications, have live links on GOV.UK, but the Disclosure and Barring Service check leads to a dead link. Others, such for healthcare prescriptions and the Secure Industry Authority licences, begin on other websites.

Paper to digital

Hancock also spoke of government moving away from paper to digital foundations, reflecting the need of decision-makers to find information wherever they are. Traditional paper storage reinforced the silos in government and led to people with complex needs, “getting lost between the cracks”.

“For the first time, we are in a position to build digital foundations, made of data not paper, holding up platforms not silos,” he said. “Common registers, common payments platforms and common licence systems, all based on common data standards.”

In addition, he highlighted familiar priorities of the government’s work in digital, pointing to simplicity in designing services and iteration in their development.

“It’s not just about making websites more user-friendly,” he said. “As we adopt this approach more widely we will transition from a target culture, where ministers try and manage services from on high, to a data culture, where services adjust in response to user feedback.”

Image: Gflores, public domain through Wikimedia



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