GovWire

Renewable Electricity Register alpha assessment report

Government Digital Service

January 24
18:33 2020

From: Government Digital Service
Assessment date: 09/01/2020
Stage: Alpha assessment
Result: Met
Service provider: OFGEM

Service description

A service aimed at supporting users in the administration of their obligations/activities within three government environmental schemes:

  • Renewables Obligation (RO)
  • Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO)
  • ROO-FIT

To provide this service, we need to support users by:

  • maintaining a record of renewable electricity generating stations accredited within these schemes
  • validating data submissions for generated electricity
  • issuing RO certificates (ROCs) & Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) for eligible renewable energy generated
  • ensuring compliance by obligated energy suppliers.

Service users

RO, REGO and ROO-FIT scheme participants as well as Ofgem internal users who administer the scheme

  • generators who own/operate renewable energy generating stations and claim support under the relevant schemes.
  • agents who act on behalf of generators to claim support, completing all their tasks and interactions with Ofgem
  • traders who buy & sell ROCs
  • licenced electricity suppliers who have an obligation to present ROCs to Ofgem annually to represent a certain proportion of the electricity they have sold, which has been generated by renewable means.

Assessment overview

Overall, the panel were pleased to see an enthusiastic and passionate service team and were impressed with the quantity of work completed during the Alpha phase.

The service team clearly conveyed the potential for improvement on the current service in terms of opportunities to better meet user needs, provide a high quality user experience, and meet Ofgems business goals. The development of this service can be seen as an important part of the Governments commitment to meet a net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions.

The existing service encompasses a number of differing schemes, a variety of users and needs, and a number of differing user journeys - some with complex business logic. These factors potentially contribute to increasing the risk around the development of the service, and migration of users during the Beta phase.

Within the next phase of delivery it is recommended that:

  • the team prioritise developing the new service for specific schemes, personas and/or journeys, and release these to users incrementally (instead of back-loading the migration / cut-over plan for the full functionality) - see point 5
  • ensure there is adequate user research resource in beta to collect usability testing feedback and explore assisted digital and accessibility needs in greater depths
  • if the service team plan to continue with their big-bang cutover approach, that they work immediately to make sure they have willing users to double submit their returns during the critical September/October testing periods.

1. Understand user needs

Decision

The service met point 1 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team were able to demonstrate changes made to the service based on user research
  • the service has been tested with all users and plans are in place to test with external users of assistive tech and also to test the service on different devices
  • team have recognised the need for support and plans for assisted digital support if any.

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • ensure service is tested on different devices, all journeys are tested with all types of users including users of assistive tech
  • run research sessions with peoples real data, once its migrated from the old system.

2. Do ongoing user research

Decision

The service met point 2 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • a good plan is in place for ongoing User Research
  • have a plan to explore assisted digital and accessibility needs in beta.

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • ensure there is a full time user researcher in the team throughout the beta development
  • explore more fully whether API/batch submission capability would meet a user need.

3. Have a multidisciplinary team

Decision

The service met point 3 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the expected set of skills and team members have been included for the duration of the Alpha phase, there is a clear separation of roles, and understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • the team have ambitious plans to evolve the existing service and create better outcomes for users, and have a Service Owner with clear vision for this
  • the team reports that they are empowered to make decisions based on their plan to meet user needs, and create a high quality service for users.

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • ensure that there is adequate User Research and Design support throughout the Beta phase, to be able to deliver the ambitious scope
  • make a plan for knowledge transfer and handover to ensure knowledge is not lost when supplier team members leave the service team. This could be especially important when bringing in new software developers given the ambitious scope of the Beta phase.

4. Use agile methods

Decision

The service met point 4 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team are following a regular cadence of agile ceremonies which they use to prioritise, plan, and deliver their work, and to share progress with the wider organisation (including; stand-ups, sprint planning, show and tells, retrospectives)
  • the use of various tools and collaboration platforms has allowed the team to successfully incorporate elements of distributed working (including; slack, azure dev ops, surface hubs, skype)
  • the team is using good development practices - pairing, code review, modelling.

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • work with stakeholders and the wider organisation to explore if any changes to the programme governance and reporting model are required to better support the agile development and running of the service
  • create an outcomes focussed roadmap for the Beta phase, with a backlog of user stories developed through iterative processes, and informed by user research and data.

5. Iterate and improve frequently

Decision

The service met point 5 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team completed 5 day User Research and Design sprints throughout the Alpha phase, with User Research sessions informing the scope for the following sprint, and weekly planning sessions to agree areas of focus
  • the Alpha phase has provided clear evidence of what didnt work for users, and what has been retained and improved
  • the team makes collaborative prioritisation decisions on the next most important activity or area to explore.

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • consider how to deliver regular iterations and deployments to the service throughout the Beta phase. The team acknowledges that the current migration / cut-over plan for moving users to the new service is technically complex and high risk. Currently, this risk is entirely back-loaded into October which made it difficult for the panel to have confidence in the teams delivery capability. The team should re-explore opportunities to deploy smaller sections of the service for specific user groups earlier in the Beta phase, both to de-risk the migration / cut-over plan, and to focus on delivering value early and often,

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