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Building our own future

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Technical Architecture

Portrait of David Blair

I’ve never known a more exciting time to be working in DWP Technology. When I first started working with DWP most of our IT development thinking and work was done in-house, but over the recent past most of it has been done by our technology partners.

Now we’re right in the thick of designing and building our own systems again and we are looking to bring work back in-house. For a technical architect that’s a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on with some of the biggest IT systems and projects in the UK.

The scale of DWP projects

DWP is one of the biggest delivery departments. Our systems administer the state pension and a range of working age, disability, and ill-health benefits to more than 22 million claimants and customers.

We also have around 90,000 staff who use our systems.

The systems that underpin these services deal in massive amounts of data – some 320 terabytes – that we need to process, store, and analyse in a secure and robust way.

Working with complex system requirements

The challenge for our technical architects is to come up with design solutions to cope with that complexity. To do that we’ve created 3 new teams:

  • Standards team who agree patterns and principles that we use for Digital delivery
  • Digital Accelerator team to prove technology in advance of confirmed business needs
  • Digital Incubator team to come up with innovative solutions in the early stages of a project (Discovery and Alpha)

The art of the possible

The teams are free to consider and use any technology and tools that might benefit DWP. So they can work with a whole range of program languages, various integration technologies and the latest big data tools, all hosted in a variety of ways.

Making a difference to users

Most of the recent solution design work on the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system has been done in-house and the PIP offline tool has been built by our own developers. The team has taken enormous satisfaction from creating something that’s going to make PIP easier to use.

This is just the first of many projects the teams are working on. These projects will bring enormous changes to the DWP staff who rely on our systems and the millions of people we continue to support.

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