The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to procure more services from the digital services framework, this time for a beta version of its new state pension system.
It is the department’s second use of the framework, as earlier this month, DWP said it was taking advantage of the government-wide digital services framework to develop the new digital Universal Credit system, following Government Digital Services’ (GDS’) departure from the project.
In a call-off notice, DWP said that it hopes to “build a minimum viable product of the STP [Single-Tier Pensions] digital service, something which allows us to test the service in a live environment with a small number of claimants and agents”.
However, it added that the service “needs to be scalable”, which is significant as the lack of scalability of the Universal Credit system cost the department millions of pounds.
As part of a major state pension reform, the government intends to simplify pensions by implementing the single-tier pension, which is a flat-rate pension set above the basic level of means-tested support. It plans to build systems that can accommodate any future changes to the state pension age and deliver a service that is ‘digital-by-default’. The government plans to implement STP by 2017.
Once it has built the minimum service possible to effectively test the system in the beta phase, DWP said it “will then iterate the service, based on user behaviour and what we understand to be the user needs beyond the minimum product”.
As the ‘minimum viable product’, DWP wants the beta system to use “emerging” identity and security systems to validate the customer’s identity.
“The next phase adds in more complex customer cases and rules, as well as identity management, and starts to build the interfaces between the Single-Tier core IT solution and the existing legacy IT systems that will support the Single-Tier service, including automating the payment of the award/amount to the customer,” DWP added.
DWP’s STP delivery team is based in Burnley, Lancashire, and the department said it would require suppliers to be co-located with the team there.
It plans to start the STP project on 23 July 2014, once the digital services have been procured. It plans to use the services procured initially for at least six months to cover the beta stages of the project.
The beta is expected to last until 22 January 2015, and the development work is expected to be completed by April 2016.