Delivering a World Class Service
The DWP is the UK’s largest public service department responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy, administering the State Pension and working-age, disability and ill-health benefits to 20 million people. These services are essential to the health, welfare and economic well-being of citizens. Stable high-performing services are critical to an effective welfare system. Services need to be delivered efficiently, but at the heart of improving performance is enabling colleagues to better serve citizens.
When the DWP adopted the first computers and introduced large-scale transaction processing in the 1950s, it was at the forefront of service innovation and performance. As public service demand has grown and evolved, the UK’s largest public service department has increased in scale and complexity, creating performance challenges and making it ever more difficult to maintain efficient, innovative and user-centric experiences for the 20 million people accessing welfare, pensions and child maintenance services.
In 2018, the DWP set out on a journey to establish a World Class Service, tackling two decades of outsourcing which had created a complex people, process and technology legacy. Working with IBM Global Business Services, the DWP moved operations in-house and transformed processes, underpinned by modern, high-performing technology. This has driven a culture of performance improvement, collaboration and innovation.
For the first time in twenty years, the DWP had freedom to transform all aspects of end-to-end service delivery. A vision and overall structure was established, but otherwise teams were actively encouraged to assess opportunities for performance improvement and generate roadmaps for change. A multi-disciplinary team was mobilised to investigate, respond to and prevent incidents, visiting sites and engaging directly with users.
World Class Service was a model that aligned many different teams across the organisation, removing organisational boundaries. The alignment of teams around the programme worked extremely well. Every incident had the attention of the full team, with a collective team focus on reducing impact on citizen services. There was a huge amount of collective pride in resolving incidents and taking steps to prevent future impact for business colleagues.
Service performance is now at an all-time high and improvements are directly benefitting customer experience. Lost productivity has reduced from 2% of all business hours to less than 0.03%, enabling 86,000 DWP colleagues across 800 sites to focus more time in delivering front-line services. This has been achieved while realising significant cost savings through increased operating efficiency.
Juan Villamil, DWP’s Chief Technology Officer, highlighted the achievement for the Department explaining “service availability and performance is now world class. This is an outstanding achievement for any tech organisation, not just in the public sector. It means that our people can spend more time with the public they serve”.