Case study

G-Cloud cuts cost of DWP's ‘Tell Us Once’ in half

The CCS G-Cloud framework helps save DWP an estimated £20 million per year.


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced the ‘Tell Us Once’ system back in 2011 to make it easier for people to inform the government about a change in their personal circumstances.

Using ‘Tell Us Once’, departments and agencies like Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Passport Office and local authorities are informed about a person’s change in circumstances in parallel, removing the need for repeated, unnecessary form-filling.

DWP was paying for physical hosting of the service through a single, non-extendable, managed contract.

Faced with the hard stop of the existing contract, the emerging Government Digital Agenda and the need to drive down costs, DWP needed a solution that would move from a physical hosted system to a commodity cloud-based solution.

A simple process with effective outcomes

Timescales were tight for DWP, who had only an 8-month delivery window.

The department had no in-house experience to conduct a physical to virtual cloud transition; so they took the decision to bring in external support through CCS’s G-Cloud framework, which is hosted on the Digital Marketplace.

By following the steps in the simple buying process - listing requirements, key word searches, reviewing service offerings and applying filters to reach a short list - DWP was able to to hold a supplier open day.

In just 8 weeks, digital technology specialists Kainos were awarded the contract.

Kainos guided the DWP project team through the transition to cloud. Having a really experienced transition manager was crucial to the success of the project.

A ‘lift and shift’ approach was taken to move from the current incumbent physical state to a virtual state hosted by UKCloud.

Kainos took advantage of the fact that the go-live date was scheduled for 29 August 2016 - a bank holiday everywhere except in Scotland. The company took the small amount of live data received on this day and carried out user assurance, rolling the system out to the rest of the UK subsequently.

Working through the bank holiday and utilising traditional ‘down days’, the supplier was able to test their solution before full roll-out.

The result

Cutting administration costs and reducing the overpayments of benefits - usually because of out-of-date records of people’s personal circumstances - protected the cross-government savings generated by Tell Us Once, estimated at more than £20 million per year.

By switching from a physical infrastructure to a cloud solution, DWP has also benefited from cost savings of around 50% on the IT running costs of Tell Us Once.

The solution is also scalable and flexible, giving assurance that the department will be ready to grow and change it as circumstances demand.

Why G-Cloud?

We asked DWP what they would suggest to other buyers to consider when looking for a similar requirement.

Fidelma Holland, Strategic Design, Planning and Quality Lead for Tell Us Once explains:

“Engage with the market before you draw up service requirements. Suppliers are happy to provide advice on what you need to think about in terms of scope of requirement and the offering.

“Be realistic with delivery timescales and budget. Suppliers know and understand the art of the possible.

“Be inclusive with the supplier. Get them to spend time with service ‘front end’ so they can appreciate the impact on end users of what they are transitioning.

“And work hard at the relationship. Make them feel part of your team, it will pay dividends.

“Using G-Cloud was crucial in ensuring we got what we wanted in a very short timescale.”

Russell Sloan, Head of Digital Services at Kainos said:

“Cloud adoption is key to achieving significant savings in the running costs of important services like Tell Us Once as well as providing the flexibility and security to continue leveraging this, and other services, in the future.

“Following an efficient G-Cloud procurement, Kainos was delighted to be selected to work collaboratively with DWP on this project and again deliver on schedule, with a highly successful outcome being realised by DWP.”

Get involved

To find out more about the G-Cloud agreement and how you can make significant savings visit the Digital Marketplace.

Published 30 August 2017