DWP set to virtualise UK benefits system through contract with Involve

27 Jan 2022 | Attend Anywhere, Blog

  • DWP responds to pandemic-driven demand for virtual services to help manage increase of new claimants
  • Move to virtualised benefits system set to improve access and equity for up to 23 million people in the UK
  • Video technology platform provided by Involve widely used by the NHS, Private Healthcare, and the Ministry of Defence

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has awarded a multi-million-pound contract to leading video specialist provider, Involve Visual Collaboration Limited, to provide communications services that support the virtualisation of the UK benefits system. The initial two-year contract value for Involve is £3.95m, with the option to extend the contract for a further two years, totalling up to £7.79m. The contract forms a critical part of the DWP’s Strategic Digital Video Project, which is increasing efficiencies and cost savings by virtualising the benefits service.

The DWP is the UK’s largest public service department and is responsible for administering the State Pension and a range of working age, disability, and ill health benefits to those who need them most. A recent DWP National Statistics report revealed that the total number of benefit claimants increased rapidly during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising from 20.5 million in February 2020 to 23 million in February 2021. Due to the economic disruption caused by coronavirus, it became more important than ever that the DWP was able to support customers in a cost-effective, timely and efficient way, whilst keeping public sector workers in the benefits system safe.

The DWP’s priority is to deliver accessible, effective, and fair services to their customers, and assessments have traditionally been completed via face-to-face consultations. However, to respond to the increase in benefit claimants resulting from the pandemic and overcome the challenges customers may face in attending in-person appointments, the DWP acted fast to virtualise key business areas. This includes Personal Independent Payments, Universal Credit, Industrial Industries Disablement Benefit, Employment & Support Allowance and Fraud.

As part of this significant contract, Involve will provide best-in-class cloud-based SaaS technology in collaboration with its partner, Induction Healthcare Group, who will provide its web-based video assessment platform, Induction Attend Anywhere. The platform will allow DWP assessors to host and record secure, reliable video assessments with claimants about their financial benefit support needs, as an alternative to an in-person meeting.

The digital transformation has the potential to bring significant benefits to the DWP and the people it supports. Virtual assessments will improve accessibility to DWP services, as customers will be able to attend remotely, which will reduce work absences, and the need for travel and childcare costs. Virtual meetings will also mitigate COVID-19 health risks and make it easier for people with reduced mobility or disability to access the support they need. The DWP prioritise the need for personal assessments and this technology will enable them to deliver a more efficient service that reduces operational costs, reduces customer waiting times and gives customers more flexibility, whilst maintaining important in-person contact.

Involve has over 30 years of experience in delivering best-in-class audio visual and collaboration solutions across healthcare, corporate, legal, and public sector markets, including key contracts with the NHS, Her Majesty’s Prisons and the Ministry of Defence. Mick Roach, Director of Strategic Alliances at Involve, commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a huge increase in the demand for virtual meetings, due to the challenges of meeting in-person. As a result, public sectors have had to adapt and speed up their digital transformation to support those they serve. We were fortunate enough to partner with Induction Attend Anywhere to support the NHS with delivering virtual meetings that have been proven to save time and resources, cut costs and most importantly, protect patients and staff. Having seen the positive impact our video technology has had in healthcare, we are excited to partner with the DWP to provide a more accessible service for their customers.”

Involve was chosen from a shortlist of providers following a competitive process. The contract was awarded through Crown Commercial Service’s G-Cloud 12 framework. Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services and helped the public sector achieve commercial benefits equalling £2.04 billion in 2020/21.

Involve is excited to bring the benefits of its secure, reliable and adaptable video technology solution and platform, which can be rapidly implemented at scale, to other public sectors in the future.