The Make a Plea service is a service through which people charged with summary motoring offences can respond to the charges against them. The service reduces case time and costs for the courts and the police, and began as a pilot in the Greater Manchester area.
Department / Agency:
Date of Original Assessment:
Date of Reassessment:
Result of Reassessment:
Outcome of service reassessment
The assessment panel can confirm the Make a Plea service has shown sufficient evidence of meeting the Digital Service Standard and should go live on GOV.UK. The service can now remove any beta branding.
The service was re-assessed against criteria 1,2,12,13,15 & 16 of the Digital Service Standard and has passed all criteria.
Overall the service team has responded very well to recommendations made at the previous assessment. The team showed a strong understanding of their users and their needs. Extensive work has been done to research assisted digital users and an effective plan for ongoing user research is in place.
The service requires users to provide their National Insurance number, though this is not strictly required to make a plea. For some users, providing their National Insurance number will be useful later and the team showed that the need to provide this was not causing significant numbers of users to abandon the service. There is also an apparent benefit to the taxpayer through reduced costs in collection of fines, though this benefit was unquantified and messaging around collection of National Insurance number was unclear.
The team has designed, implemented, thoroughly tested and iterated an effective new telephone talk-through service.
Legislation currently prevents the service from being completed on users’ behalf but the team is working to remove the legal constraint. The team explored establishing face-to-face support but their user research strongly indicated that users would prefer to seek help from family and friends or, if that was not an option, to go to court, rather than choose this type of support. The team are also working to improve the paper channel, which will improve the service for users who do not have digital skills or access in the interim, while the legislation is challenged.
The team have addressed a number of design and content changes recommended at the last assessment, to bring the service in line with GOV.UK. The panel was impressed that the changes had also been tested and final decisions on improvements were “led by the user”.
The team have implemented improved analytics tools and use of data to explore user segments, especially for assisted digital channels. The team showed sufficient performance analysis capability and were making good use of analytics data. However, it was recognised that there was not a dedicated product analyst within the team and the capability within the team was due to the skills of individuals, rather than those associated with the role.
The team face a number of constraints around the provision of key performance indicators (KPIs), resulting in delays to publication. However, there was clear evidence of benchmarking, monitoring, targets and plans for improving each of the four KPIs. Cost per transaction data has been provided and will be published on the Performance Platform soon.
The collection of National Insurance numbers should be further researched. It is recommended that the cost-benefit is better understood so that the requirement to collect this data for all users can be reviewed.
Although the provision of a face to face route for assisted digital users has been explored and no user need for this was established, it is strongly recommended that user research continues in this area after the service goes Live, to ensure that AD users’ needs are fully met in the absence of an on-behalf-of telephone service. If a need for face to face support is found at any point, however small in volume, this route must be provided by the service. The Digital Training and Support Framework (currently being developed) might provide a suitable option for procuring this support.
In order to ensure continuity it is strongly recommended that a dedicated performance analyst be identified to work with the team. The requirement is not full-time, so the resource could be shared across multiple teams within the MoJ.
The team has been working in a challenging and complex environment, with multiple stakeholders, and numerous legal constraints. Despite all of this they have established a high performing team that are committed to continuously improving the Make a Plea service. The quality of the digital service is reflected in high rates of user satisfaction and uptake, and delivery of significant benefits to government and the taxpayer. The team has also shown a holistic view of the service and a commitment to break down obstacles that get in the way of efficient and effective service delivery.
Digital Service Standard criteria