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Civil Claims – Service Assessment

Civil claims are a way for the public to solve civil legal disputes or obtain money or property owed. The exemplar aims to create a digital service for all types of claims, improve user experience and save money.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Moving to:
Public Beta

Not passed

Lead Assessor:
H. Garrett

Service Manager:
E. Fineberg

Digital Leader:
M. Coats

Assessment report

The Civil Claims service is seeking permission to continue development and move to Public Beta.

Outcome of service assessment

GDS have concluded the Civil Claims service should not be given approval to launch on the domain as a Public Beta service.

GDS were really impressed with the team and the sound, clear and informed answers to our questions. It was evident that the service is meeting the pre-April 2014 criteria for an alpha/private beta service. The multidisciplinary team is in place and the plans for future iterations were clearly explained which GDS are confident will ensure that the service is on track to meet the standard and proceed to public beta.

However, as the assessment process is evidence based the current iteration of the service does not meet the criteria required to launch as a beta on


Pre-April 2014 criteria

1. Does the service meet user needs?

  • The team has a research plan in place to test the service at the end of each sprint. At this stage not enough users have been through the service for it to proceed to public beta.
  • The first iteration is a non-JavaScript version which is a good approach, but means that the current form is very long with some sections not relevant to all users. The team’s plan to implement a JavaScript version would solve this.
  • The form uses complex “legalese” language and doesn’t conform to the style guide in relation to use of plain English. Essential legal terminology should also be explained in plain English. Good examples already resolved include adding ‘(tenant)’ after ‘defendant’, but other legal terminology such as 'demoted tenancy' and 'accelerated property possession' need to be explained as appropriate to the expected users.
  • The service is currently not responsive at smaller screen sizes.

2. Can the service be rapidly improved?

  • The current iteration is a non-JavaScript version, which means there are limits to what can be tracked using analytics (eg drop off points). Plans (which we are aware are already in place) to add JavaScript to the next iteration would address this.
  • There is no current continuous integration or continuous deployment process - this has been estimated as 2 weeks' work but not in place yet. Currently only a single developer can deploy.

3. Is the service safe, ie are there appropriate security and privacy protections in place?

Plans are in place to implement the appropriate security and privacy protections, but at this stage:

  • There is no SSL or production hardware in place.
  • Similarly, no IT Health Check has been done at this stage because it is not yet on production hardware.
  • The team has plans in place for the service to be assessed by the SIRO, but this should be completed before moving to public beta.

Next Steps

The assessment has shown that the Civil Claims service is not yet on track to meet the Digital by Default Service Standard. Before the service can proceed to public beta, GDS require the service to be reviewed against the failed criteria.


GDS were impressed with the work completed so far and the team’s plans to iterate and improve the service based on user needs. GDS look forward to seeing how the service develops.