Embracing Digital and Data at Defra
I’ve spent recent months with a few other GDS colleagues, focussing on the waste carriers registration project at the Environment Agency.
Waste carriers might not be the most high profile exemplar of the digital transformation programme, but I’m proud to be part of a project which is very important in a number of ways.
The waste carriers registration exemplar was chosen for two reasons:
Firstly, it addresses the need to meet a new European regulation. From January 2014 small businesses (e.g. plumbers or carpet fitters) that carry waste as part of their work, will be required to register as a waste carrier. The regulation may lead to up to 0.5 million new registrations.
Secondly, the project is the first step to enable the Environment Agency to move away from ‘integrated regulation’ – the existing product for recording waste carriers, which has had a number of issues.
This exemplar is an excellent example of how quickly something can be delivered and successfully meet the digital by default service standard.
Four months on from when procurement kicked-off in August, we’re already close to releasing a public beta and moving towards a live service early next year. It’s clear that the project is setting a standard for how quick and cheap a product can be delivered.
The project has also gone a long way to demonstrate the advantages of new ways of working for the Environment Agency such as agile development, user insight research and continuous delivery.
But the most important thing about this small, quickly delivered project is how much it has inspired conversations about wider digital transformation in the Environment Agency. Discussions about the introduction of service managers, new technologies and agile processes are all underway. So although we’re not the biggest exemplar, we are kicking off a little revolution in a small but interesting area of the public sector which we hope will lead to some big changes.
This post first appeared here on the GDS blog.
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