Tell Us Once (TUO) is the award-winning, cross-government programme that lets people inform central government and local authorities just once of a birth or death. By March 2012 it will be in service in over 95% of councils in England, Scotland and Wales.
It has provided a permanent solution to the long-standing and frustrating issue of people having to notify the government multiple times. Several years ago, research showed that people had to make up to 44 contacts when reporting a death to government bodies and their local authority.
The TUO service is offered as a face-to-face interview by the local authority or by telephone to a dedicated telephony service run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). March 2012 a TUO online service will be offered via the Directgov website.
This programme is supported by innovative software developed by Solidsoft on the Microsoft stack providing a national system for the citizen coupled with cross government data distribution.
Solidsoft first became involved in the project over 4 years ago when asked to support the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now Cabinet Office) in providing architectural guidance to a small team considering how to make it easier for the citizen to report changes of circumstance to government. This team was part of the newly formed Tell Us Once initiative lead by Lyn MacDonald.
A prototype and a high successful pilot later the green light was finally given to deliver the national system with the first phase going life September 2011. Of course this was not without a quite bumpy path not least when a change of government caused the freezing of all projects including Tell Us Once for a number months shortly after development had started in earnest!
Today over 300 councils are providing the service with over 2,500 customer interactions taking place each day! By April 2012 this will have risen to over 400 councils and over 3,500 transactions taking place each day.
The project is one of the first cross government, citizen facing successes for a long time. It was made possible by the partnership of DWP, the stack holders (councils and government departments), AtoS and Solidsoft.
Furthermore it is an exemplar of how SME’s like Solidsoft can work to deliver solutions across government with the help of large SI’s such as AtoS.
Over the coming months we will be looking at how this was achieved and where it should go next.