Warwickshire County Council is to work with the GDS to trial a new Blue Badge renewal service, which allows invited residents to renew their Blue Badge online securely and prove their eligibility, online.
Discussing the project in a blog post, GDS says the pilot builds on the work done through the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) since 2013, which explored the need for identity assurance and eligibility checking in local authority services.
Since June 2016, Warwickshire County Council has been working with the GOV.UK Verify team to develop the service design, assess the service risks, privacy and security requirements, and build the infrastructure required to integrate with GOV.UK Verify.
Now, about 750 existing Blue Badge holders in Warwickshire will be invited to try out the new service with GOV.UK Verify in private beta. The pilot is planned to run for three months from March 2017.
The pilot explained
The blog adds that the private beta is for current Blue Badge holders who need to renew their badges, and who previously received qualifying benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Participating users of the pilot will first be asked to prove their identity using GOV.UK Verify. This gives Warwickshire County Council sufficient assurance and confidence in the identity of the user who is applying.
Then, the user will be asked to give explicit permission for Warwickshire County Council to check their eligibility online against data supplied by DWP.
Warwickshire County Council will then carry out an instant online check and will let the user know, within that same session, if they’re still eligible for a Blue Badge.
If, for any reason, the user cannot get verified, or if Warwickshire County Council is unable to confirm eligibility automatically, they will be offered alternative ways to continue with their application.
The Blue Badge private beta aims to develop online eligibility checking processes across different departments and create an effective service.
A local government service user can consent to a real-time eligibility check against central government data. This is the first pilot of this new capability.
It’s hoped the online service will deliver a number of benefits. As well as building an improved service that better safeguards privacy and saves time and effort for the users, who are a particularly vulnerable demographic, convenience will be enhanced and security improved.
For Warwickshire, it decreases processing time and saves costs by eliminating manual checks and eligibility assessments, manual re-typing and storing of data. It also enhances the security of the service and reduces the potential for fraud.
The blog post concludes by saying the collaboration has already uncovered a number of important lessons, which are being applied as part of the onboarding and technical integration of other local authorities working on pilots. This includes improving the accessibility and relevance of the technical onboarding guide to councils.
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