LGSS and GDS aiming to have common service pattern available to councils in the autumn
A prototype service pattern for parking permit applications using the GOV.UK Verify identification platform is due to move to beta phase next month, according to one of the officials involved in the project.
Kat Sexton, digital services architect at the East Midlands shared service LGSS, told the Socitm spring conference that this follows discovery and alpha projects carried out with the Government Digital Service (GDS) as part of the effort take Verify into local government services.
She said they have been working together to develop a service pattern that could be widely used by local authorities, reflecting the intent to reduce the duplication of effort in developing common services.
User research in the discovery phase of the project, involving more than 150 interviews, was fed back to GDS for further development of the service. It supported the creation of a common service pattern then a common process prototype. This was localised by LGSS for a further round of user research to identify any problems.
A key step has been reducing the level of assurance required for parking permit applications, reflecting the fact that permit applications are less sensitive than other services for which Verify could be used.
Feedback on guidance
“As GDS is creating guidance that will help councils connect to Verify, we were able to feedback on what did and didn’t work on that guidance,” Sexton said. “It has been a two-way process.”
She added: “One thing we’ve learned is that we all start with assumptions about the end result, and that we have to wipe all that and design the service to meet user needs.”
Plans for the Vehicle Driver and Licensing Agency to enable checking of the vehicle registration to a given address have not been included in the current prototype as the agency is going through a transformation programme. But Sexton said it is still part of the long term plan for the service.
She emphasised that the existing version of the prototype is unlikely to be the version that goes into full service as it is being constantly revised on feedback. She added that permit applicants would still be able to use the traditional paper based process if they choose.
The parking permit pilot is one of the two that GDS has been working on with a group of local authorities to pave the way for the use of Verify – which authenticates people’s identities for online public services – in local government. The other pilot is dealing with the issue of concessionary travel passes to senior citizens.
Under the Government Transformation Strategy there is a target for Verify to be used by 25 million people by 2020, compared with a current sign-up rate of about 1.5 million. This will require its widespread adoption for local government services.