Department of Finance response to NIAO Report on nidirect Strategic Partner Project

Date published: 14 June 2019

The Department of Finance has said lessons are being learned from the NI Audit Office (NIAO) report on the ‘Management of the nidirect Strategic Partner Project.’

The Department is working closely with NIAO in response to the report and has taken action to improve delivery and enhance future digital transformation programmes. 

The Department’s Audit and Risk Assurance Committee conducted an in-depth review in October 2018 to explore the financial and contractual position with the Strategic Partner Project. This review resulted in new arrangements being put in place to move existing services to new arrangements before the end of the current contract, this approach has been welcomed by the Audit Office. The Department has also added robust mechanisms to improve the monitoring of expenditure and now has a dedicated and skilled contract management resource in place. 

This was the first wide ranging digital transformation project across NI Civil Service Departments and, as it gained momentum, the number of public-facing online services delivered through the contract doubled, leading to increased expenditure. 

The NIAO report acknowledges the vital role of digital transformation in delivering online government services. Over 40 government services are now available online. 74% of all citizen transactions are delivered using an online channel. To date there have been over 20 million transactions through nidirect. The nidirect contact centre included within the contract takes over two million calls per year providing support for those who cannot, or do not, use the online channels.

Notes to editors: 

1. Departmental Accounting Officers are responsible for the business case approvals relating to their department services, and the funding and benefits realisation of their projects delivered through the contract. 

2. In addition to the nidirect contact centre online services developed and managed through the contract include; Applying for a Driving Licence, Applying for Rate Rebate, Submitting a Planning or Water Appeal, Applying for Legal Aid, Applying for a Blue Badge, Carrying out a criminal record check for those working or volunteering in certain jobs, Applying for compensation for injury or criminal damage, Buying Ordnance Survey mapping, Registering as a Landlord, Researching Family History, Applying for a replacement Birth or Marriage certificate, Confirming your online identity, Booking a Careers Appointment, Paying your Rates, Purchasing a Fishing Licence or Permit.

3. All media queries to Department of Finance Press Office on 028 9081 6724 or 028 9081 6895 or email dof.pressoffice@finance-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

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