We talked to Jo Broomfield, the Programme Director for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Delivery Programme, the team which is tasked with delivering the new CAP Information Service.
Jo points to two forces at work behind the Programme’s aims; the shift to make Government services digital by default (from passport applications through to CAP payments) and needing to address the problems of the past, when in some cases Government IT projects have failed to deliver. The problems with the last round of CAP Reform in 2005 illustrate what can go wrong.
To deliver that, the CAP Delivery Programme team, made up of 393 people and led by Jo, is working to meet the best practice criteria set out for new online Government services by the Government Digital Service.
Jo Broomfield put the team together, recruiting existing Civil Servants and looking for small to medium-sized private sector companies with the right skills to help. He explains that the team’s focus is recognising that the customer (e.g. a farmer, agent or caseworker), should drive the development of that service. Customers’ feedback needs to be constantly sought, so that as every part of the service is developed and put online, the team can make sure it is right.
This wasn’t always done in the past, and often came too late, when the service was already developed and the money spent. Here, the team involves them at every step. Jo explains this is part of an‘agile approach’ and he describes this as aiming to get back to basics - making decisions quickly, with the right experts available to provide the evidence with which those decisions are made. Jo’s final thought? It’s all about unblocking progress, and having the skills and flexibility to refine the service as it is developed, so that in the end, the customer gets what they need.