The much-needed Tell Us Once IT project is said to be progressing well, though it's early days.
The project is being led by the Department for Work and Pensions, and is important because, if it continues to work well, the next of kin after a bereavement won't need to give the deceased's name and address countless times when informing government departments and agencies of the death.
Tell Us Once would also make it easier to inform government of a birth, or a major change of circumstances. The idea is that you tell one department, and the information gets passed to all departments and agencies that need to know.
"That sounds an utterly obvious thing to do - and it is - but making it a reality is very challenging," says Sir Leigh Lewis, Permanent Secretary at the DWP.
The main participants are
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Local authorities
- Cabinet Office
- HM Treasury
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
- Dept for Transport
- Identity and Passport Service
- Communities and Local Government
- Improvement and Development Agency
- Local Government Association
- Information Commissioner's Office (ICO
The project is progressing well, according to Government Computing Weekly [needs registration].
Lyn McDonald, programme director for Tell Us Once, told Kable's Managing Public Sector Information conference on 1 March that in its first few months the service has had a 100% success rate. About 16,500 people contacted the 14 participating local authorities to inform them of a birth or death for the notification of relevant services, and none had to repeat the task.
But GC Weekly says there is no room for complacency.
"So far it has been used by a small number of people and authorities, and only for a limited number of services. The process is going to become a lot more complex as it is taken up by more councils and, as is planned, it is used to notify changes of address.
"It's notable that the programme is being rolled out incrementally rather than as a big bang, and it's significant that McDonald said there is no timeframe for universal take-up. If her team pulls this off they could provide a valuable lesson in how to make a big project work."
Tell Us Once chief proclaims 100% success - Kable
Tell Us Once case studies - Govt website
Tell Us Once is only a workround - News from a nerd