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Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime - Service Assessment

The Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime service allows for the public to submit information about foreign nationals working or living illegally in the UK or any kind of smuggling.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Assessment Stage:
Live assessment

Result of Assessment:
Not passed

Lead Assessor:
N. Chowdhury

Service Manager:
D. Pennant

Digital Leader:
M. Parsons

Assessment report

The Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime service is seeking permission to be branded a Live Digital by Default service on domain.

Outcome of service assessment

After completing our assessment GDS has concluded the service should not be given approval to launch on domain as a Live Digital by Default service.

GDS were pleased to see significant progress has been made since the first assessment with regards to putting users first and undertaking user research. However, there are a number of areas which need to be addressed in order for the service to meet the criteria for becoming a Live Digital by Default service.


  • In the assessment it was unclear who was undertaking the duties of thedefined service manager role as knowledge and responsibility seemed to be shared across a number of people. Also, requirements for development appear to be agreed at project board level and as a panel, we were uncertain on whether there was flexibility for requirements to be approved outside of this process.
  • The service has no interaction design/content design support, or access to an in-house user researcher. GDS were not assured how the current team would be able to design/test/code quickly without this support being in place, particularly for a Live service.
  • There are no digital analytics in place to measure the service, therefore it will be difficult to see how the service is performing and iterate based on data. The current version of this service has not gone through a Beta phase so only a small sample of users have tested the service so far.
  • It was encouraging to see the work to enhance the current telephone service and the commitment to assisted digital support. For the service to move to Live, the service manager will need to provide evidence of assisted digital user research. This involves demonstrating an understanding of who the assisted digital users are, including the demographic and the barriers they face in accessing the digital service.
  • Running the service requires co-ordination of 8 different suppliers, with the technical stack either completely proprietary or run entirely by suppliers. This makes it difficult to make quick changes or improvements to the service in an agile way.


GDS recommends the service team focuses on designing the service for reassessment targeting a Beta launch, with the plan to go for a Live assessment by the end of the year. This approach will enable more users to go through the service and give the team time to work through other recommendations.

Service manager and service team:

  • Ensure the service manager has good knowledge of end-to-end operations and is suitably empowered to decide and prioritise requirements. This role should be able to take the lead in responding and providing evidence in service assessments.
  • The service should immediately seek to supplement their current team efforts by establishing routine input from an Interaction Designer, Content Designer and User researcher. This is key for improving user experience of the service and ensuring the service can be iterated, based on user needs.
  • The interaction designer should focus on the form format and style (form field length, readability, etc). The content designer should review the form copy and ensure it is clear and easy to understand. Both roles should be basing decisions on regular user research sessions and analytics data.

Working with suppliers:

  • Consider the relationship with your supplier and see if they can co-locate developers for you (to our knowledge one of your current suppliers do offer this service). It will improve your ability to test with users and develop in an agile way.
  • The service manager must be fully aware of the contingency plans and methods used by your supplier to run your service, particularly with regard to disaster recovery or the ability to react to denial of service type attacks. The detail of their ability to do so should be part of the procurement and tender process, and their operational capacity and ability should be part of the way you consider potential suppliers.

Analytics and KPIs:

  • The service team should talk to the GDS Product Analytics team for advice on sourcing an alternative to analytics package for their service. Analytics across the service will need to be in place before the service launches as a Beta.
  • Data on how your service is performing, including the 4 core KPIs, will need to be available on the Performance Platform.

Assisted digital:

  • Undertake research to establish who their assisted digital users are and test their channels with real assisted digital users.
  • Establish a means to measure the assisted digital service and to gather feedback in order to iterate their assisted digital support offer.


The Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime service development sits upon a complex structure consisting of a number of suppliers, working to a pre-established delivery plan. It is very encouraging to see the efforts the in-house team have made so far to align with the development methods outlined in the service standard. GDS recommends the team continues this approach by working towards a Beta as the ‘next step’ of this service development. GDS also encourages the Home Office to consider how they can ensure the team has the full complement of roles and support required to design the service through to Beta and Live.

Digital by Default Service Standard criteria

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 No
3 Yes 4 Yes
5 No 6 Yes
7 No 8 Yes
9 No 10 No
11 No 12 N/A
13 No 14 No
15 N/A 16 No
17 Yes 18 No
19 Yes 20 No
21 No 22 No
23 No 24 No
25 No 26 No
Details of criteria that are not applicable to this service
12 - there are no non-digital steps to this service
15 - software is proprietary and off-the-shelf, there is little benefit in sharing the front (HTML) code