We’ve joined the #VerifyLocal parking permits pilot

Last Tuesday we braved the rail strikes to attend the kick off meeting for the GOV.UK Verify parking permit programme in London.

If you’ve not heard of Verify before, here’s a video. It’s a tool built by the Government Digital Service (GDS) to help citizens quickly prove their identity when using online services. It’s part of a bigger push to make all government services simple and easy to use.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Brighton & Hove City Council is transforming its services too. Resident parking permits are highly sought after, so it’s right that this service is top of the list. We wanted to explore how Verify can help us make things simpler for our customers.

This is an interesting pilot for me personally. I worked at GDS a few years ago so was curious to see how it had developed as an organisation.

Anyway, back to the kick off event. Fourteen councils attended and you can see a list on the project blog. We were in good company – lots of talented public servants across the country wanting to do the right thing by their customers. I sat with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and would like to thank Ian and the team for making us welcome.

Although the event was a whole day, we had a lot of ground to cover – the background to Verify and the pilots, mapping a typical user journey to get a parking permit, technical issues, privacy and more besides. There were several workshops and I was helped by Maria, a designer from GDS. Thanks to her, we achieved a lot.

I enjoyed the user journey mapping exercise in particular – a huge sheet of paper to chart a user’s steps through a particular service, their needs at each stage, the pain points, and how our teams interact with them. We repeated the workshop yesterday at Hove Town Hall with members of the parking team. Everyone got it, and we already have a good idea of potential improvements.

There’s a lot of work to do, but everyone is raring to go. We’ll post regular updates here, but please do drop us a line with any questions.

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