Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) and the Digital Transformation Service

February 19, 2016 by No Comments | Category Digital Public Services, Digital Transformation Service

Over the past year, the Central Government Digital Transformation Service (DTS) has worked with a number of Central Government organisations including the Scottish Public Pensions Agency.

Read how Ross Paterson, Chief Exec @ SPPA found the work of the service below, and how a user centred approach to design challenged the way in which they approached delivery.

What was the problem you needed to solve?

The agency, administers pensions for over 500,000 NHS, Teachers, Police and Fire public sector workers in Scotland, making up almost 10% of Scotland’s population. Having delivered on the Pension Reform agenda and brought 2 new schemes in-house, SPPA’s ambition is to become the premier pension services organisation in Scotland across the Public Sector. To do this we firstly had to better understand what mattered to our customers to shape future service delivery.

Why did you choose the DTS?

Our focus on what mattered to our customers required a different type of discussion, one that answered questions on how well our members understand their pension pot, especially with the new CARE schemes in place. Are our members furnished with enough information to make good choices throughout their career with regard to their pensions? Can our members effectively plan for their retirement?

How are we working with our employers to make sure that our scheme members know who to go to for information?

We wanted to listen to small groups of real users of our service, the police officers, Fire-fighters, nurses, doctors and teachers of Scotland and have a deeper conversation which focuses on real peoples goals and aspirations, challenges, capabilities and concerns about the future.

In short we wanted to encourage a dialogue which helped the members of our scheme explain to us what was really important to them, and then having understood this, work together to come up with solutions. Taking a user research approach enabled us to do this, quickly and importantly for a delivery organisation such as ourselves, arrived at actionable solutions.

How did the DTS solve your problem?

User Centred approach to service design challenged us to focus on the quality of the conversation and not the quantity of survey results. User Centre design asked us to adopt a staged approach, to understand the need, co-design the solutions and embed as part of how you do business.

To date, SPPA has progressed through the first 2 phases.

In doing so the user centred approach has helped to focus on who our customers are, consider how to structure a conversation to ensure we got what mattered, that real users of our service felt listened to and part of the solution and critically provided a robust data driven analysis and simple interpretation of the qualitative data to be clear on what our customers are telling us, whether it is Police officers wanting to know the size of their pension pot or new start teachers wanting to understand what their contributions are ‘buying’ to Nurses wanting to someone to explain pensions to them “ I became a nurse to care for people, not to calculate compound interest”

How was the solution from DTS unique?

Committed to taking a user centred view, different techniques to generate broad but structured discussions, actionable results that were easy to understand and helped prioritise SPPA delivery and that resonate with all our stakeholders. Has real integrity, goes a long way to building a relationship with the real users of services, everyone has been genuinely pleased to be asked to take part It also created an interesting shift in the SPPA staff as they are now even more connected and committed to making a difference for our customers.

What did you particularly like about the DTS approach or delivery?

Direct, supportive and collaborative. Quickly able to identify how to make this happen in organisations, whether it was mobilising specialist skills whilst at the same time encouraging the development of in-house capability. Easy to use techniques and adaptable approach.

How would you summarise the experience as a whole?

Engaging & simple end results but hard work required to effect.

Would you recommend the DTS to others? If so, who?

Yes, especially to organisations who deliver services to the citizens of Scotland and either haven’t yet considered taking a user lead approach to research or are looking at how they can make further improvements to their service.

Visit the DTS website to find out more on how your organisation can benefit from working with the team.

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We’ll be sharing updates on this, and much more on social, so follow the team via @digitalscots for more updates. Want to comment? Get in touch below!


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