||Government Digital Service
||11 September 2017
||Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
The service met the Standard because:
- Developing the service in a user centred way
- Have a clear understanding of their users and their needs
- Thinking about the end to end service rather than just a digital form
About the service
The ‘Appeal a Benefit Decision’ service is for benefit claimants who have received a benefit decision they do not agree with, they have the right to appeal to an independent tribunal who will look at the decision again, this part of the journey is the submission of the appeal to the tribunal.
The users of this service are benefit claimants or their representatives who are looking to contest a decision by DWP to reduce or remove their benefits.
The team showed a good understanding of user needs that was grounded in appropriate levels of research. Research had been conducted with appellants, HMCTS staff, welfare rights advisers and Judges. A broad range of techniques had been used including – observation, interviews, surveys and lab-based research. These had led to a comprehensive list of user needs. Team members were able to talk confidently about how design features in the prototype were linked to research findings.
The understanding of the needs of Assisted Digital users was less well developed and focused more on how intermediaries would cater for users with the most complex needs. It was not completely clear how a telephone line met user needs or how the service would make best use of the upcoming HMCTS face-to-face assisted digital service.
Pain points in the current service were understood, particularly around receiving information, providing reasons for appealing, legal challenge and feelings of confusion. There was evidence in the prototypes shown of these pain points being addressed.
The team has demonstrated that they are operating in a multidisciplinary way with good agile practices and tools. The team demonstrated that they have appropriate governance that empowers them to make decisions that have encouraged DWP (key stakeholders) to be part of their programme board with the creation of a mirror of the board in DWP.
There is also a long term plan around building sustainable multidisciplinary teams within HMCTS, with the Service Owner, Delivery Manager and Product Owner being civil servants. The organisation has identified other roles that they are planning to convert from being contractors into civil servants over the next few years.
The team have used simple prototypes to quickly test changes to forms with users, a good approach appropriate for alpha.
The service collects information from a user, which is submitted to a back-end system which is currently in the process of being replaced with a new system. The team demonstrated that the service is decoupled from the back-end system and how design decisions such as the format of fields were dictated by the needs of users, rather than the constraints of integration with back-end systems.
Notification of the progress of the process uses the GOV.UK Notify platform. Tracking the progress of an appeal is conducted using a separate tribunals-wide service which is in private Beta and is been assessed separately.
For private Beta, the team outlined working with DWP to reduce the amount of information the user has to re-submit to the appeals process and using another tribunals platform to provide uploading of supporting evidence.
The team has made good use of established styles and design patterns and has adapted them to fit the needs of their users where appropriate.
The team showed that they had tested multiple solutions to specific problems and iterated the design of their service accordingly.
The teams prototypes were very well organised and were of an appropriate fidelity.
The team recognised that the submit process is just one part of the end-to-end user journey, and that much of that journey is delivered by DWP. They showed that they were working with DWP to improve those aspects of the user journey, with some success.
The team showed that users were able to complete this part of the service, but when evidence submission and appeal tracking are added they should test whether users need more support. In particular, design patterns like save-and-return and task list may become necessary.
The team have been considering the type of key performance indicators that they would like to measure during private beta onwards, speaking to the wider business and DWP. The team have also registered with the performance platform.
To pass the next assessment, the service team must:
- Show that users can complete the end-to-end service, from the point where they dispute a DWP decision to the point where a tribunal verdict is given.
- Make sure that users who can’t complete the end-to-end service in a single session (for example if they need time to gather evidence) are given adequate support.
The service team should also:
- Make sure they’re using the latest styles, components and design patterns from GDS
- Publish information about any new patterns they’ve developed (for example, the high-level progress bar).
- Pilot Assisted Digital help with their supplier and make sure it meets user needs.
pass - alpha
You should follow the recommendations made in this report before arranging your next assessment with the Digital Engagement Manager.
Digital Service Standard points