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Data Sharing between Local and National Governments for the Benefit of the Citizen

Abstract : The Online Free School Meals (OFSM) project [1] is an example of transformation through information technology (IT) in local and central government. It brings together several central government departments in England, removes a bureaucratic process for the citizen, speeds up the process significantly, saves money, removes the stigma of benefit claim, and enables automatic audit and renewal [2]. The OFSM project was led by Connect Digitally, the team that introduced online school admissions across England [3]. The project brief was to develop a solution which would check parent/carer eligibility based on minimal criteria across the three central government databases which held the essential data, namely, Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC), the Home Office (HO) and the Department for Work and Pension (DWP). The project resulted in the Eligibility Checking Service (ECS, previously called the Hub) [4] which from three key data items – family name, date of birth, and National Insurance number (NINO) or National Asylum Support Service (NAAS) registration number - can deliver an immediate eligibility response in over 90% [5] of applications via a web interface. The large response from local authorities (LAs) across England and Wales led to over 149 using at least some of the facilities of the ECS [6] and many incorporating the full web service process, saving money, time and delivering a beneficial service for the citizen. This paper looks at the original process, the development of the system, the current take-up and the future of OFSM in England.
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Alan Strickley. Data Sharing between Local and National Governments for the Benefit of the Citizen. 10th Next Generation of Information Technology in Educational Management (ITEM), Aug 2012, Bremen, Germany. pp.107-118, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-38411-0_10⟩. ⟨hal-01468466⟩



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