Tag Archives: self service

[RL] Accounts and portals

Original post from Salman Chaudhri, FutureGov

…a different, more nuanced approach to authentication can save councils money in the long run. By focusing on making the transactions that apply to most people as seamless as possible, it can help to reduce additional support i.e. the number of phone calls and face to face contact.

An interesting development on the original post by then FutureGover Carrie Bishop, who delightfully wrote “‘I really wish I had one place where I can see all my transactions with the council’, said nobody, ever.”

The idea of accounts for public services kind of makes sense in the abstract – people think of e-commerce and how logging into one place where all your stuff resides is a useful thing. Surely it would be great to have that for council services too?

As this post explains, that isn’t necessarily the case, not least because most people don’t interact with their council all that often, and when they do, creating an account seems like needless faff. In those cases, authenticating users in other ways makes much more sense, and there’s some great ideas shared here.

We’ve found that once you identify the information needed for different types of transactions it’s possible to strip back which services really need a ‘login’.

However when considering the user need, there are some cases where an account might make sense. Perhaps a business owner who has several interactions on a regular basis with different bits of the Council, like commercial waste and environmental health, for instance. Or a developer, who has several sites with planning applications ongoing, or building inspections.

It’s dangerous though to make assumptions about when an account might be needed, and this is certainly one of those areas where keeping that focus on meeting the needs of user can ensure a better experience for them, and creating a digital journey that’s more likely to succeed.


This is a post in the Reading List series, where I link to an interesting article and add some commentary. See here for more information, or find all the posts in the series here.