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For staff, with staff - Improving the digital back office

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Carer's Allowance Digital Service

When the Carer’s Allowance Digital Service (CADS) project went through discovery (long before I joined the team), they were asked to build and iterate a first class customer facing service but also begin the transformation of the Carer’s Allowance digital 'back office' process. Work commenced on that transformation with the building of the Carer’s Allowance Staff Access (CASA) tool.

CASA is a replacement for the twisting unseen ‘pipes’ that the digital transaction slips and slides its way through and a replacement for the big pool the transaction ends up in. Sounds fairly easy but it has been a long road. The CADS team has had to break new ground in many areas within the DWP to implement this new infrastructure.

But anyway, onto some of the CASA benefits that the Carer’s Allowance Unit should see: -

  • Automation of a data input task that previously took 6 hours a day to complete; this has been solved with 3 clicks of a button.
  • CASA uses data, that the customer has input, to produce a summary sheet that staff previously had to manually complete.
  • The layout of the system is easier for staff to navigate than the previous system.
  • CASA is built to Government Digital Service and DWP accessibility standards
  • The output used by Carer’s Allowance staff now has a more logical processing flow.

Sounds like obvious stuff? Well, it kind of is. The beauty of CASA is that it’s not doing anything radical in terms of what it delivers, its meeting the needs of the Unit and staff. Previously the Unit has been restricted by the IT infrastructure it used, which meant that it couldn’t change any processes after the customer clicked submit on their digital transaction. Simply put, CASA makes the Carer’s Allowance digital processing simpler and faster, meaning they can focus on processing claims and making decisions quickly for customers of the digital service.

The building of CASA has been driven by the Carer’s Allowance Unit requirements. The Carer’s Allowance staff have had direct input at every stage to shape and form how it will look and how they will interact with it.

CASA went ‘Live’ on 21/10/2014. Just because the service has gone live, however, doesn’t mean the CADS team is done; the first release of CASA is the Minimal Viable Product. Work has already begun to iterate CASA with the help of the Carer’s Allowance staff and provide yet more improvements to processing digital claims which benefit the Carer’s Allowance Unit and its digital customers.

Hopefully the work carried out by the CADS team will pave the way for other areas of DWP to transform its IT infrastructure.  

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  1. Comment by Leigh Mortimer posted on

    Great blog Michael. Immensely proud of all the work you and the team did to make this happen. It was quite the journey to deliver CASA (I know I've aged rapidly) but I think we have done the hard yards here to make it easier for others needing to do something similar not just in DWP but across other government departments.