We know that great work is already going on inside and outside government to help people use digital services. We’re collecting examples to share as best practice and to learn from as we develop ideas for assisted digital support. We’ve come across some really exciting work happening at Stevenage Jobcentre Plus (JCP).
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced a number of digital services to help people move into employment. These include Benefits Adviser, which gives claimants estimates on what benefits and credits they may be entitled to when they start work, and Universal Jobmatch, DWP’s online job search service.
Stevenage JCP introduced a digital suite in January 2013 to ensure that claimants who are unable to access these digital services themselves are supported to do so. Claimants now have access to computer facilities at the Jobcentre with staff and third-party organisations targeting support to those claimants who are unable to use the services independently.
This is how the model of support at Stevenage JCP works for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants:
- When a claimant completes an application for JSA, they will receive a text message or a phone call with an appointment at the Jobcentre to discuss their claim further. Appointments are booked within three working days of the application.
- At the appointment, an adviser will introduce the claimant to the other DWP digital services, including Benefits Adviser and Universal Jobmatch. The claimant will also complete a bespoke skills health check assessment online on a computer at the Jobcentre with the National Careers Service (NCS). This assessment identifies possible areas of skills development for the claimant. A private organisation provides help to complete this process digitally to those claimants that need it, using resources available on the NCS website.
- Employment advisers also offer help to those claimants that need it to produce a high-quality electronic CV, which will improve the claimant’s employment prospects.
- Finally, if needed, advisers signpost the claimant to longer-term, basic computer training, provided by local training providers.
This model provides access to digital services to all claimants. It targets support at only those claimants who need it. This is provided right in the place where claimants are most likely to go for help – their local Jobcentre. The support offered to claimants, is sourced through locally brokered agreements with local service providers, and it encourages claimants to use digital services independently in the future.
We hope this case study gives an example of what support assisted digital services could include. However, a single model of assisted digital support will not fit all transactions. It’s essential to get insight from users and those who support them, and also to bear in mind the complexity of a service when deciding how people could be supported to use it. We’ve put together an assisted digital action plan to provide departments with a guide to developing assisted digital support.
We’re always on the lookout for great examples of people being helped to use a digital service, inside or outside government. If you know of any, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.