DWP’s stuck in its digital bubble

I received this lunchtime an email from the DWP asking me to sign up to an external stakeholder working group (and to complete a survey).

I really love the DWP for this. I want to be involved in pension policy, to give my feedback and I have a strong relationship with several people in Caxton House and around the country.

But what I can’t understand is why the DWP make it so hard on themselves. Why can’t they just behave like everybody else and set up simple feedback loops using the everyday tools of digital communication – Zoom,. Survey Monkey, Eventbrite?

My digital journey to answer a few anodyne questions has been quite traumatic for me , my new friend at the DWP and I hope for those who don’t get involved with the messy business of customer interaction but appear on the email

It turns out that to help your Government out, you have to have a Microsoft account. I am not a microsoft user but I found a live account. Is having a Microsoft account a pre-requisite to be a DWP stakeholder?

Having conformed to the Microsoft protocol and re-set my Microsoft password, I was ready to take the survey. I pressed the link in my email.

But this led me to an error message; my account is the wrong kind of account

It turns out that to access the forms and help the DWP out, you have to have a DWP Microsoft account. The bubble may not be evident to those inside it , but it is impenetrable to those without DWP permissions.

“Thanks Henry, I will sort another solution, thanks for your patience I have just tried on my personal email and getting the same must be a security protocol that only allows DWP to access”

This has preoccupied me for an hour. It is presumably a problem which will waste the time of other DWP stakeholders.

Thanks for my patience?

The DWP is trying to become more productive by harnessing big data to provide people with pension dashboards , VFM assessments and now a DWP Policy Group.

External stakeholders like me have limited time. limited software and limited patience.

The kind person who eventually got me the link had to deal with the mess the DWP’s  security protocols created for him. Ironically, those security protocols meant that I couldn’t communicate with the person who invited me.

I hope that she recognises that engaging with external stakeholders can be done right or wrong. Because if you can’t get a simple invite and a survey right, what in heaven’s name are you doing trying to land a pension dashboard?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in pensions. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to DWP’s stuck in its digital bubble

  1. DaveC says:

    Microsoft were dragged over the coals in the late 90s over their bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows, an arguably non-issue given their subversive practices today with forcing MS accounts on people.

    I’m not sure you can blame the DWP, but we should be blaming the regulators of the tech businesses.
    But we seem to be letting Microsoft get away with anything in the idea if we don’t “the uk isn’t open for big tech” which is a simplistic view.

Leave a Reply