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Blazing a trail in systems integration

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

We’re on sprint 17 of our project to integrate DWP payments systems with HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) data.

It’s an intellectually stimulating and challenging piece of work – we are trailblazers figuring out how to link two massive systems together via the cloud, in a secure, robust way.

Faster, more accurate payments

As many of DWP’s payments are income-related, we use the RTI data to calculate how much benefit to pay to people. RTI collects information from employers on how much they pay each employee every month.

Having an up-to-date picture of someone’s income means we can make our calculations faster, speed up the claims process, and reduce the risk of overpayment and fraud. We reckon that this could save the department millions over the next few years.

For claimants, it’s made things much quicker too. Previously they’d have had to fax us documents to support their claim, which could take up to 2 weeks to process. Now they can upload and submit them with their claim, and we can process the claim straight away.

The RTI system automatically sends out alerts to DWP if someone’s earnings fall below, or go above, a certain level. So we can increase or decrease payments accordingly, and be more responsive to the changes in people’s circumstances.

Rewarding, varied projects

What do I get out of working on this project?

Well for starters it’s quite something to potentially say “I worked on a project that saved millions for the taxpayer”.

There is a huge opportunity to re-engineer some of our older systems, and immense benefit to everyone from doing this.

The work is interesting and varied – from redesigning user interfaces and rebuilding the front end of some systems, to creating secure information gateways and writing our own test plans. We do it all in-house.

I’ve worked for big organisations, but I’d say this is 2-3 times larger than anything happening in the private sector. And this is just one of many such projects on this scale going on all over DWP.

Technology hubs around the country

DWP Technology is a vibrant place to be, and it’s not just happening in London. I’m based at the Leeds hub where we have 20 or so projects on the go. There is a similar number in Newcastle and Warrington.

The hubs allow us to concentrate teams and focus all our combined skills on projects. This builds a really collaborative, positive and respectful culture, and great camaraderie. People even hold the door open for one another!

Carl Davies at work

Focus on excellence

It’s so refreshing to be able to do things properly too. The commercial pressures of the private sector can force you to release things before you’re happy with them. Here there’s an immense satisfaction in working with a team focused on excellence.

As a team we’re working to find the best solutions, pooling our knowledge to create better public services that are more efficient to run, and that contribute to the public good. It’s more meaningful than working for bank.

It’s what I call a good day’s work.

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  1. Comment by Eamonn Cowan posted on

    RTI will be central to UC (congratulations on its elevation to the cloud) .
    Will RTI link or feed to JSAPS? I note that RTI can alert DWP if earnings go beyond certain parameters. Will JSAPS be able to query RTI?

    • Replies to Eamonn Cowan>

      Comment by gillwhitelegg posted on

      Hi Eamonn, We could give access to the WURTI application to JSAPS processors.
      This is already being considered by the project as part of the future rollout.
      Hope this answers your question?