Simple Sign On

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

Local Authorities have made significant progress in providing digital services to the public. As this journey continues it is becoming increasingly apparent, both from customer feedback and professional teams, that the ability to provide a simple and seamless authentication process across multiple case management systems is needed to make the next step change in customer provision and systems harmonisation. This aligns with the principles of the Digital Declaration of redesigning services around the needs of people, ensuring citizens remain at the heart of our activity and sharing plans and experience.

This need will only increase as we continue to replace legacy systems with new products that come with out of the box customer portals and this project seeks to try and collaboratively discover a universal potential solution for a simple customer authentication experience.

This project seeks to address a common issue across all Local Authorities and other government organisations.

The milestones and deliverables of the project will be the following:

  • Appointment of a consultant to lead the project– December 18
  • Baseline of current position and customer experience and perceptions – January 18
  • Collaborative combined business requirements – January 18
  • Market review of existing and future options for delivery – February 18
  • High level technical architecture and system requirements specification – Februaury 18
  • Proposal concept tested with Customers – March 18
  • A business case outlining user research, a universal authentication design solution and identification of the potential benefits that could be achieved through implementation of the solution – March 18

Key Critical Success Factors of the Project Include:

  • Project delivered within time and budget
  • A real understanding of the challenge and need, based on customer experience
  • A robust technical specification with universal requirements from across a wide range of local authorities.
  • The products delivered are of sufficient quality that enable further work to develop the project as an Alpha project or collaborative project across local authorities.
  • Quality of the concept will be evaluated in two ways.
    • Firstly, from a technical perspective: is it achievable – is it cost effective, easy to implement and maintain. Do technologies already exist and can open source capability be leveraged.
    • Secondly from a customer journey perspective: Does it meet user requirements – would customers be happy with this approach? Does it fulfill their needs?

Potential benefits to the Local Government Sector include:

  • Improved digital take up
  • Improved choice for customers
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Efficiency savings
  • Greater Customer Insight
  • Improved sharing of information across the services and a reduction in duplication
  • Process improvements and of speed of delivery
  • Shareable outputs in terms of user research, market intelligence, architecture proposals and the business case, synergies across net working opportunities

The Council’s outlined in this collaborative application represent approximately 2.95 million residents and customers. General contact across these authorities is over 3 million contacts with telephony representing the customer-preferred choice on contact.

Although all Councils are at different stages of digital transformation and have all demonstrated significant progress in terms of encouraging customers to transition onto digital channels, the requirement for a simple sign on for customers is universal.

Recent consultation with customers places ‘ease of use with a secure and simple log on process’ as one of the most important features from an on-line offer for a Local Authority (43%)

Recent consultation and feedback from customers around the barriers to accessing services online shows that the current offer is:

  • Complicated and cumbersome – customers have different authentication requirements and have to remember numerous passwords
  • Not joined up, customer are required to register for multiple accounts and the information provided is repeated
  • Customers are unclear about the functionality of the various portals

At present, the average breakdown by channel across the partner authorities combined is as follows:


Channel Volume for 2017/18 Cost per Transaction (SOCITM Data) Total Theoretical  Cost
Online 732,826 £0.09 £65,954.34
Telephony 1,204,079 £2.59 £3,118,564
Face to Face 398,679 £8.21 £3,273,154
Email 1,006,844 £2.59(assumes same cost as telephony) £2,607,726
Total 3,342,428 N/A £9,065,398


* Data for 17/18 provided by 6 Authorities.

By having a simple sign on for customers, we collectively envisage that we could encourage more customers to channel migrate to online and cheaper channels of contact. A shift of just 1% away from face to face telephony and email could potentially generate in the region of £431,238 savings, freeing up resource and enabling officers to provide more support and better service to customers.

If a similar position was reflective across the 418, Council in the UK the financial savings could be vast.

Identifying a more robust understanding of the potential savings to be realised from a simple sign on will form part of this project.

All 12 authorities who have different structures, demographics, geographies, and customer bases will work closely together throughout the discovery project facilitated by the lead consultant to:

  • Share customer insight to understand the challenge and the customer experience and perceptions across the varied customer base
  • Sharing service and cost information to produce the financial case.
  • Collectively developing a universal set of requirements.
  • Appraise technical concept to ensure they meet the needs of the business and customer for all local authorities.
  • Test the concept proposed approach with customers
  • Evaluate the outputs of the project in terms of quality
  • Identify and share areas of best practice and other partnership opportunities
  • Promote the project across the wider Local Authority network.

A lead consultant will be commissioned in December 2018 to work collectively across all authorities to develop a:

Business Case for Simple Sign-on representing 12 Local authorities which will:

  • Clearly identify the need from a customer and business perspective
  • Outline some universal requirements of the architecture and systems from all Councils
  • Outline the cashable and not cashable benefits to customers and local authorities and make some assumptions on the potential benefits that could be realised nationally.
  • Provide market intelligence and consider technical options leveraging the potential use of open source technology
  • Provide a high-level solution

A User Research Report that:

  • Builds on existing data and enhances user research
  • Provides high-level customer journey ‘as it’ and ‘to be’ mapping and supports the benefits case.
  • Tests the proposed solution with customers to assess if it meets customer expectations.

A Conclusion Report that:

  • Considers the content of the Business Case and User Research to provide a conclusion of the discovery project
  • Determine the feasibility of this project being further developed to Alpha stage
  • Identifies the next steps for an alpha project and the potential timescales.

A key requirement for commissioning of the consultants will be the need for them to demonstrate how they intend to use agile principles and digital technology to work openly and collaboratively across a wide number of councils.


The 12 Council’s involved in this project provide services to a combined population in excess of 2.9 million residents and customers across varying groups with different needs,  many who have the desire and means to interact digitally with the Council.  It is therefore important to understand customer needs and expectations.

The user research approach for this project will be part of the consultant commission and will build on the existing feedback and intelligence already established across the partnering authorities to ensure that all proposals and potential designs are created with the customer at heart and driven by evidence and data.

User research objectives for this project include:

  • Understanding the general current customer journey across the 12 authorities
  • Understanding the general customer experience and perception to identify what works well and what doesn’t
  • The Identification of customer needs and expectation from a wide range and varying group of customer
  • A customer perspective on the proposed concept solution and how this compares to customer needs and expectation.

We have not been granted funding for this project previously