The GOV.UK Notify system is to start sending messages to people applying for student finance and UK visas as part of the government’s invite-only public beta testing.
The government now wants to text you about its services – Photo credit: Flickr, Jeff Turner
GOV.UK Notify is a government notification service that began life as a government system and has been expanded to allow the public to get alerts and information for certain services.
It is now in its public beta test and more than 70 departments have plans to use the system.
In a blogpost, Pete Herlihy of the Government Digital Service, said that the Notify system had sent the first message to public users in May.
Now, Notify is processing messages for passport applications and lasting power of attorney deputy reports and sending messages to users to update them on progress.
“Applying for a lasting power of attorney can be a considerably anxious time,” Jane Fallon, head of digital at the Office of the Public Guardian, said. “It might seem a small thing, but a text message to let you know ‘your application has arrived, and we are looking at it’, can give real reassurance. We know this from the calls that come into our contact centre daily.”
She acknowledged that it was “baby steps” but that the service was “incredibly useful” for her office’s work.
“It’s early days, and we need to monitor how this goes and keep iterating to make sure we continue meeting the needs of our users,” she said.
The service has been designed along the principles set out by the GDS, which means that the focus is on user need and making sure it is simple to use.
The blogpost Herlihy said that the service would now be used to get in touch with people applying for student finance and UK visas.
He added that the GDS would publish further updates on the challenges and progress over coming months.