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Foreign Operator Payment System – Service Assessment

The service allows HGV operators and drivers to pay the new road use levy before foreign owned HGVs enter the UK.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Date of Reassessment:

Moving to:
Public Beta

Reassessment Result:

Lead Assessor:
J. Stewart

Service Manager:
S. Kendall

Digital Leader:
B. Etheridge

Reassessment report

Progress has been made on reviewing the service management approach for this service and of the plan now in place to bring it within DVLA, appoint a new dedicated service manager and work toward a more integrated team. The developer has significantly demonstrated the ability to continually improve the beta site over a short period focused on issues raised at the first assessment. Further work is continuing with DVLA and Crown Commercial Services to enable long term continual development of the service led by user feedback. GDS understands there is  a commitment  to continue iterative development once the service is launched.

GDS notes the progress that the team has made on improving the user interface for the service, particularly making it work responsively for mobile. The response had questions about the changing advice provided by GDS on the design of the service, while an individual may have differing preferences in design assumptions should be tested with users regularly and often. GDS is working on new design guides that will help services to develop services that will meet the service standard. A significant amount of user research with real users has been carried out to date, much of the feedback gathered was incorporated into the services design. There is a commitment to visit operators and observe the use of the service for back office workers, this is crucial to further development and meeting the user needs of largest groups of expected users. Full accessibility testing has been completed  and there is a commitment to achieve accreditation from the Shaw Trust once the service is publicly available. GDS are now convinced that the multidisciplinary team have all the skills in place to continue the development of the service. The team will be able to continue the work on user research already completed, developing the service based on user research in an iterative way.

Given the progress on both of those areas GDS has concluded that the service can proceed to Public Beta on the domain, pending a full re-assessment within the next three months.


While progress has been made in other areas many of our previous recommendations detailed in the original assessment report remain and GDS would hope to see progress on any outstanding  points by the re-assessment.

In particular GDS looks forward to hearing about progress on building the multi-disciplinary team around the service manager (rather than at arms-length) and will be keen to see what insights are gained from user research and testing with the projected 94% of users working in back office roles.

Other observations

GDS are grateful to all involved for the rapid work to respond to the outcome of the previous assessment and to address some of the challenges that were identified then. It is extremely encouraging to note the quick progress on both systemic and more immediate user-facing improvements.

Next Steps

This re-assessment has shown that the Foreign Operator Payment System (FOPS) is sufficiently on track to meet the Digital by Default Service Standard and can proceed to Public Beta.

Given the tight timescales involved a GDS Technical Architect will co-ordinate the next steps.

Summary of Original Assessment report

The Foreign Operator Payment System (FOPS) is seeking permission to continue development as it moves from Alpha to Public Beta.

Outcome of service assessment

The assessment panel have concluded the Foreign Operator Payment System (FOPS) should not be given approval to launch on the domain as a Public Beta service at this time.


The assessment panel’s main reservation is the lack of a fully empowered service manager with day-to-day responsibility for running and improving the service, leading the team, and ensuring that the service is performing well against KPIs and meeting the user needs it sets out to fulfil.


The assessment panel recommended a number of areas for further development and completion to ensure compliance with the full standard.  These included:

  • Continuing user research and accessibility testing to ensure a fully responsive service;
  • Working further with GDS on content design, a cookie policy, open data, analytics, identity assurance; and design patterns;
  • Removing the HGV levy logo;
  • Ensuring support for java script;
  • Taking forward arrangements for a skilled and empowered service manager and support team;
  • Developing arrangements for responding to feedback during the beta period;
  • Setting appropriate KPIs and information on costs.

Other observations

The assessment panel were impressed by the thorough knowledge of the haulage industry demonstrated by the service team and the detailed investigations made to work out the impact of the new legislation.

The assessment panel noted the great efforts made to conduct user research in the field and source real users on ferries. As outlined in the recommendations, it would be excellent if this thorough approach were extended to the primary users of the service based in administrative offices in large haulage companies.

The assessment panel noted the significant improvements made from the alpha and the hard work from the service team to prepare the beta in time for this assessment.

Next Steps

The assessment has shown that the Foreign Operator Payment System (FOPS) is not yet on track to meet the Digital by Default Service Standard. The service team should follow the recommendations made in this report and see the Government Service Design Manual for further guidance. In order for the service to proceed to Public Beta, we require a full reassessment.