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Waste Carrier Registration - Service Assessment

The 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). Some users, who carry wastes for others, pay a fee for registration (upper tier). For upper tier customers registrants are checked against a list of relevant convictions.  The service also publishes the list of registered carriers to allow other business and the public to check if people are registered.  An assisted digital route is provided as a telephone service through our national customer contact centre.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Assessment stage:

Result of Assessment:
Not passed

Lead Assessor:
C. Mitchell

Service Manager:
P. Wright

Digital Leader:
J. Pierce

Assessment Report

After consideration the assessment panel have concluded the Waste Carriers service should not be given approval to launch on the 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.


Criteria 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

Criteria 4 - Evaluate the privacy risks to make sure that personal data collection requirements are appropriate.

  • The service uses a generic Environment Agency website privacy policy and cookie statement which is 3 years old. The experience for reviewing the privacy policy can be jarring for users.
  • Recommendation: review and update the user journey for people wishing to view the privacy policy and provide details specific to this service

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 No
3 Yes 4 No
5 Yes 6 Yes
7 Yes 8 Yes
9 No 10 No
11 Yes 12 Yes
13 No 14 No
15 No 16 Yes
17 Yes 18 Yes
19 Yes 20 Yes
21 Yes 22 Yes
23 Yes 24 Yes
25 Yes 26 No