Securely digitising central government application processes
COVID19 continues to have a significant impact on public sector service delivery.
Services that have even a partial reliance on face-to-face case working have suffered more than most as they can be more challenging to adapt to web-based delivery.
The unpredictability of the duration and timing of lockdown created a significant need for the ability to capture evidence from applicants for support securely and digitally.
Central government application processes can become particularly troublesome when supporting documents are required from the applicant.
Most documents can be received for processing in scanned or photograph form. Where applicant behaviour tends towards providing more documents than is required for an application process– for example, excessive copies of bank statements, two key issues arise especially:
1) Due to high resolution of most camera phones, individual file sizes are very large.
2) Compressed .zip files carry a malicious content security risk.
Inevitably, the limitation of face-to-face contact during the pandemic have made it more difficult for service users to explain their needs whilst also increasing administration time in assessment activities.
With upwards of 2,000 new customers each day in some departments and each required to supply substantial supporting documentation, an effective, reliable and customer friendly solution had to be put in place quickly to avoid a significant backlog developing.
The Oracle Customer Portal is a flexible on online customer interface built to support self-service. Easy to procure, easy to implement, proven, tested and secure, with special accommodations to fulfill accessibility requirements
Typical uses include providing customers an ability to:
- Upload documents
- Search for information via an online knowledge base
- Ask questions of customer support staff
- Request a chat session
- Manage their account information
The back-office system was part of the same solution and meant that any information customers provide was immediately available to customer service/caseworker/admin teams.
We configured the portal using the same secure platform infrastructure as is currently used for other central government contracts.
In preparation, both the solution platform and Connect Assist have been rigorously inspected to ensure high security and confidentiality standards are in place and subject to ongoing review.
Within six weeks a solution had been developed that addressed all the key needs and risks caused by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
In the first three months of go-live over 200,000 documents have been captured and held on the portal with over 2,000 now being added each day.
“The last few months have been challenging for all of us due to pressures of the pandemic. but the professionalism within Connect Assist has remained a constant throughout. The honesty and transparency of the supplier relationship has been instrumental to the success of the project.”