Scottish tech firm working with local government to authenticate people applying for disability entitlements
Scottish tech firm Wallet.Services has been appointed by the Improvement Service to explore how to make it easier for those living with a disability to apply for, and access, their entitlements.
The Improvement Service was established in 2005 to work with local government to improve public services across Scotland. It is working through a Proof of Concept (POC) project with Wallet.Services, which is based in Edinburgh, to show how people with a disability can automatically prove their identity and disabled status to multiple organisations.
This project is aimed at adding further value to the Improvement Service’s existing, popular, mygovscot ‘myaccount’ digital identity service, which provides a secure way for people to sign-in and access a whole range of public services.
Wallet.Services’ SICCAR platform makes life easier for people and improves public sector efficiency by allowing disability claims to be automatically confirmed or denied according to secure digital records held by verified public bodies.
Adopting such an approach eradicates the need for people with disabilities to repeatedly provide sensitive personal data when they are applying to different organisations to access their entitlements.
A further objective of the POC is to demonstrate how Wallet.Services’ SICCAR platform can boost cyber security. SICCAR allows public sector bodies to minimise the disclosure of sensitive information and significantly reduce both data duplication and the risk of data breaches.
Peter Ferry, CEO of Wallet.Services, said: “Currently, the whole process of accessing entitlements can be inefficient and frustrating for those living with a disability. People are asked to reiterate personal details to prove their eligibility to different agencies. It’s not just time-consuming, it also involves repeatedly disclosing sensitive medical information which is distressing and unnecessary.
“Now, with a wide range of government services being offered digitally, people with disabilities should only have to prove their entitlement to government once. Currently, with over 25 different types of benefits and financial support being offered to those with a disability in Scotland, there’s a real urgency to simplify this process to remove barriers and improve people’s quality of life. This is where our technology can help to make a significant impact.”
Andrew Campbell, Programme Manager from the Improvement Service, said: “At the Improvement Service we are ambassadors for embracing change, new ways of working and technology.
“The process of supplying the same personal information repeatedly to public bodies, and in some cases the same organisation, is an activity most people can relate to. We want to make life easier for people and making the process of applying for disability entitlements is a great place to start.
“Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is being used in many different sectors. We are excited to explore the opportunities it offers with Wallet.Services, using their DLT-based SICCAR platform.
“We are aiming to identify and illustrate how DLT could benefit the Scottish public sector and, most importantly, the people who use public services.
“It is our responsibility to deliver high quality, accessible and effective public services, underpinned by values of kindness, dignity, compassion, openness and transparency.”
Wallet.Services was commissioned last year by The Scottish Government to write a report on the potential of distributed ledger technologies – which includes the likes of Blockchain – in the public sector.
Distributed Ledger Technologies in Public Services was launched at FutureScot’s Digital Scotland conference in June 2018.
Ferry added: “Scotland has led the UK in considering the use of DLT in the Public Sector. It has been a part of their Digital Strategy since 2017. We originally worked with the Scottish Government in 2016, through CivTech 1.0, looking at the licencing process for air weapons and building a prototype solution based on new legislation. It is our understanding that this was the first prototype application of DLT in the UK public sector.
“Since then our relationship with Scottish Government has expanded considerably and we have currently have three projects running all looking at different aspects of the same core issue – how to make it easier for people to access their entitlements. This involves removing paperwork and minimising red tape, while at the same time giving public sector bodies an irrefutable audit trail to justify the delivery of these entitlements.”