Editorial

Digital services provider BPDTS gets cosy with DWP

BPDTS to be brought in to DWP to create a new digital function, announces programme to improve digital services

Posted 29 September 2020 by

DWP has announced plans for its digital services provider, BPDTS, to join together to create “a single, stronger digital function”.

Simon McKinnon, chief digital and information officer, DWP Digital

BPDTS is set to move into the department from 1 July 2021, with the aim of making it easier for customers to get the help they need and simpler for staff to support them.

Formed in 2016, BPDTS provides digital and technology services to DWP. A review into all non-departmental government bodies earlier this year praised the company. It cited BPDTS’ contribution to improving the resilience of DWP’s technology and bringing new capabilities into the department.

Following this, the Secretary of State agreed with the recommendation that BPDTS should be brought into DWP to create a new digital function.

DWP says the move will strengthen the ‘Digital, Data and Technology’ profession in government. It will support the Government Transformation Strategy’s ambition to ‘have one of the most digitally skilled populations of civil servants in the world’.

In a blog, Simon McKinnon, chief digital and information officer, DWP Digital, said the department was focused on supporting DWP’s critical services during COVID-19.

He noted that demand for digital services such as Universal Credit has grown “in a sudden and unanticipated way, and we reacted quickly.”

“Teams of colleagues from both DWP Digital and BPDTS have been working alongside each other to scale these critical digital services in order to cope with this increased demand.”

Improving services

McKinnon said to expect a full programme of work to improve services for both customers and colleagues between now and the end of March 2021.

“Our priorities include helping customers to self-serve wherever possible and reduce the need for them to contact the department. Where citizens are using our services, we’re improving straight-through processing where at least some users can go from application to receiving help without any manual intervention.

“Where our service delivery colleagues are in contact with customers, we’re improving and simplifying the tools and processes involved, so that time can be spent on helping those who are most in need of help. We are also looking to automate manual, simple processing activities to create capacity to manage the increasing demand for DWP’s services.”

McKinnon described this new function as “one of the most significant and important functions in digital government.”