Waste Carrier Registration - Service Assessment
Waste Carrier Registration service allows businesses who carry, broker or deal waste to fulfil their regulatory requirement to register with the Environment Agency. Some users, including those that only carry waste from their own business, pay no fee (lower tier). Other users, who carry wastes for others, pay a fee for registration (upper tier). For upper tier users, registrants are checked against a list of relevant convictions. The service also publishes the list of registered carriers.
Department / Agency:
DEFRA / EA
Date of Original Assessment:
Date of Reassessment:
Result of Original Assessment:
Result of Reassessment:
10th March 2015
The Waste Carriers Registration service has been reassessed against points 2, 4, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 & 26 of the Digital by Default Service Standard.
Outcome of service reassessment
After consideration the assessment panel have concluded that the Waste Carriers Registration service should be given approval to launch on the service.gov.uk domain as a Beta service.
The service has made considerable progress in achieving the standard criteria under reassessment, and has responded well to the recommendations made at the last assessment.
The quality of the digital product itself has shown substantial improvement. Whilst there are still some outstanding bugs including a significant issue relating to email confirmation, the team have demonstrated the ability to rapidly fix, iterate and improve the service to address these issues.
As well as building capability within the team, reliance on external suppliers has been reduced, and the team are moving towards a much more agile and user-focused way of working.
Technical operation of the service has also improved, with clear responsibilities, effective monitoring and tried and tested processes to ensure user data is protected, and the impact of outages minimised.
The service team have demonstrated an understanding of their assisted digital (AD) users and their needs, as well as making sensible decisions to to try and meet those needs. Plans are in place to test the AD service, and while there is still work to do to ensure scalability and continuity of service, the team is on track for this stage of development.
Opportunities were identified for further improvement towards the “live” standard, with recommendations listed below.
Point 2 – Put in place a sustainable multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and senior service manager with decision-making responsibility.
- The Team have progressed well here, though there remains a reliance on a single person to perform design, content design and front-end development.
- Recommendation: continue with plans to build extra capacity in this area and create a separation of roles.
Point 9 – Create a service that is simple and intuitive enough that users succeed first time, unaided.
The digital service has improved considerably since the last assessment, though some bugs remain, particularly around management of sessions and content.
- A significant issue relating to email confirmation and the user flow that were previously identified in prior assessments had not been addressed. Guidance (previously provided) is available.
- Recommendation: It is strongly recommended that email confirmation be reconsidered for removal. If the service does continue to use email confirmation, the user interface (UI) must be improved as a matter of priority. The other bugs should be added to the product backlog to be prioritised and fixed as part of the normal development cycle.
Point 10 – Put appropriate assisted digital support in place that’s aimed towards those who genuinely need it.
- Good progress has been made here, though work is required to move towards a fully tested and sustainable service able to meet the Service Standard for live.
- The service team will need to confirm that the AD support channels across all providers has capacity to support users currently getting AD from friends and family (because this is not a sustainable source of AD). The team will also need to carry out fuller research to confirm suggestions that there is no AD being provided beyond the department’s own contact centres and users’ friends and family. The team should revisit their AD persona (“Nathan”), to ensure it is appropriate for modelling AD support against, and not more relevant to digital take-up and accessibility approaches.
Point 15 – Make all new source code open and reusable, and publish it under appropriate licences (or give a convincing explanation as to why this can’t be done for specific subsets of the source code).
- The service team have demonstrated a good understanding of the concepts around coding in the open and have made significant steps toward this achieving this.
- The service must now focus on making extensive amounts of their service code publicly available with immediate effect.
Point 26 - Test the service from beginning to end with the minister responsible for it.
- Recommendation: The service team should deliver on their commitment to test the service with their minister shortly after the launch of the public beta.
Overall, the service team has shown dramatic improvement in terms of product quality, team capability and service management. In addition, the team has tackled a number of external business constraints and driven improved ways of working with other parts of the Environment Agency that will support more rapid iteration and improvement of the service. The team has also demonstrated a strong sense of ownership and desire to improve the service to meet user needs.
The resulting pass of this assessment and release of the service to the public will deliver significant benefits to the user and Environment Agency alike as well as stimulating user feedback that will drive further improvement.
Summary of Original Report
5th August 2014
The Waste Carrier Registration service is seeking permission to launch on service.gov.uk as a Beta service.
Outcome of service assessment
After consideration the assessment panel have concluded the Waste Carriers Registration service should not be given approval to launch on the service.gov.uk domain as a Beta service.
The service team has a good understanding of their digital users and their needs. There is strong service management with suitable empowerment. The current phase 1 service is working well, with a good response from users and improvements have been made based on feedback. The team has also shown an understanding of agile and has been improving the way it works as part of the development.
However, as recognised by the service team, the phase 2 version of the product is not as far down the development life-cycle and not yet ready for a general Beta release. The team was unable to fully articulate how it is structured along with some of the processes it uses, highlighting potential capability gaps that will need to be reviewed / resolved prior to Beta launch.
Point 2 - Put in place a sustainable multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and senior service manager with decision-making responsibility.
- The team were unable to fully articulate the capability within the team and some of their processes, pointing to capability gaps within the team that cover development, content design, testing, and analytics.
- Recommendation: review and clarify capability within the team, with a view to filling any gaps
Point 4 - Evaluate the privacy risks to make sure that personal data collection requirements are appropriate.
Point 9 - Create a service that is simple and intuitive enough that users succeed first time, unaided.
- The current application is unfinished and still contains some serious defects. There are also some areas of the user flow which can lead to dead ends.
- Recommendation: Reconsider approach to development and testing in order to reduce the number of bugs. Complete functionality, resolve outstanding defects, and ensure effective testing is carried out.
Point 10 - Put appropriate assisted digital support in place that’s aimed towards those who genuinely need it.
- Assisted digital users are able to access a service that will complete the registration for them, however there is insufficient evidence to support decisions made around this provision. The assisted digital support does not incorporate digital inclusion approaches.
- Recommendation: Carry out specific research with assisted digital users (of all abilities) and design support to meet their needs and volumes, using any required channels.
Point 13 - Build a service consistent with the user experience of the rest of GOV.UK by using the design patterns and style guide.
- The content of the service does not fully meet the GOV.UK style guide, and requires better signposting and copy throughout.
- Recommendation: Have a content designer work on the service to ensure it is understandable and meets the standard found elsewhere on GOV.UK.
Point 14 - Make sure that you have the capacity and technical flexibility to update and improve the service on a very frequent basis.
- The team were unable to fully articulate their testing processes.
- Recommendation: Review/update testing approach to ensure:
- Outstanding defects are identified, prioritised and the remaining effort is understood.
- Automation where possible.
- Suitable testing to support target browsers/devices.
- There is a clear and efficient approach to defect resolution.
Point 15 - Make all new source code open and reusable, and publish it under appropriate licences (or give a convincing explanation as to why this can’t be done for specific subsets of the source code).
- Code from the service has been published and is currently being reused by another government organisation. However the process for publishing code should be improved, in order to improve its reusability and value to government.
- Recommendation: Formalise a policy around releasing open source software that takes into account the risks and benefits of doing so. CIAN 2013/01 from CESG has some relevant guidance in this area.
Point 26 - Test the service from beginning to end with the minister responsible for it.
- The existing phase 1 service has been shown to the relevant minister, though there is not yet a plan in place to demonstrate the “phase 2” part of the service.
- Recommendation: set up a meeting to demonstrate the new service to the relevant minister before the service moves into the live stage.
The Service team has made good progress bearing in mind some of the constraints they face and showed a high level of maturity in a number of areas. There are also areas, such as building internal DevOps capability, where work being carried out now will make things significantly easier in the future.
It can be tricky to time the assessment so that the service is fully ready, without holding up delivery. we are confident that many of the issues identified by the assessment would have been resolved had the assessment been made at later date. The team’s willingness to take on and respond to feedback stands them in good stead for future assessments.
Digital by Default Service Standard criteria