What will future public services look like?

People won’t duplicate applications to public sector bodies to claim entitlements. They’ll have ‘smart entitlements’ – recognised and used by all service providers.

The current state

Different parts of the public sector find it difficult to collaborate through data sharing. This results in people having to repeatedly prove things about themselves that the public sector already knows. Claiming entitlements is inefficient and error prone leading to fraud, data duplication and frustration. Organisational systems are not connected.  People are regularly expected to fetch and carry paperwork between different agencies.

This is true of common transactions such as applying for a bus pass, a parking permit or proving power of attorney over someone who has lost capacity. It is a particular problem for people such as single parents who have multiple entitlements from a variety of services providers.  People who have grown up in care may also have multiple entitlements.   Many people with a disability will have multiple entitlements.

The future state

People will be provided with ‘smart entitlements’ for use with many different service providers. Smart entitlements will exist on a shared ledger that can be accessed by both the verifying bodies and the service providers. People will be able to present a QR code to an awarding body, such as a local authority, to apply for a parking permit. Their entitlement will have been verified and digitally signed by a trusted source, such as Social Security Scotland, validating that the person has a disability. The shared ledger ensures the council has an audit trail justifying the provision of a blue badge parking permit.

People will have full control over their smart entitlements and be able to share them with service providers as required. For example, if a care experienced single parent is considering entering further education, they will prove their status to a single funding body. Their claim is verified by that body and, with the applicant’s permission, shared with colleges which can then provide the potential student with a comprehensive list of the support services available to them.

This opens-up the prospect of entitlement services being promoted by those organisations with relevant offers, rather than people having to navigate a complex world of service provision when their status changes. It also makes it possible to coordinate service provision and the withdrawal of that provision, smartly in real-time, as an individual’s status changes. For example: someone moving from being unemployed to being a fulltime student.

How do we get there?

Achieving this solution requires digital trust frameworks to be established between a network of verifying bodies and service providers. This is a means of technically regulating processes to ensure that all the parties involved have done things correctly, compliantly and in a mutually agreed manner. It requires the creation of agreed cross-organisational processes and the assurance that these processes cannot be subverted.

Who has already started on this journey?

Wallet.Services’ SICCAR distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform is the key to unlocking the many benefits of a truly digital society. SICCAR, old Scots for sure and trusted, governs and regulates how different organisations’ digital trust frameworks compliantly handle citizen data. It has been tested and approved within the Scottish public sector and is ready to be deployed.

“Siccar could be a real game changer for sharing vital evidence of circumstances and eligibility criteria to unlock access to public services and vital support in a discreet, secure, and citizen controlled way. It has the potential to introduce huge efficiencies by connecting services and citizens.”

Paul Dymock

Head of Innovation, Student Awards Agency Scotland

“Distributed ledgers enable valuable information to be shared, vouched for and attested to. These include proofs of disability, educational qualifications, or holding a licence or permit and entitlement to vote. We see significant, potential benefits from innovating using emerging technologies such as DLT.”

Sarah Gadsden

Chief Executive, The Scottish Government’s Improvement Service