Digital Client Dossier (DKD2)

The Digital Client Dossier (DKD) is a specialized database designed to collate information about the unemployed from the different local authorities and social services involved in getting people back to work. DKD negates the need for repeated requests for the same data and ensures correct data is available for both professionals and clients. Since the introduction of DKD profoundly changes the way professionals have to approach clients, there is a large emphasis on the programme for the implementation and anchoring of the results within the different participating organisations.

The Ultimate goal is that the professionals of the Centre for Work and Income (CWI), the Employee Insurance Administration Institution (UWV) the Municipal Social Services (GSD) and the Social Security Bank (SVB) do not have to ask clients any more about information that already has been submitted. The DKD provides professionals with the information that otherwise would have been inaccessible due to secured back office systems of the involved institutions. Because of DKD professionals will be able to take over each others jobs more easily when it comes to assisting a client in the process of reintegration into a job.

Policy Context

On the 15th of April 2005, the Dutch Expert Commission Information Provision and Electronic Service tabled a report entitled: ‘The citizen served’, considering European best practices, both in relation to eGovernment and work and income services. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) commissioned this research, while announcing that these services can and must become better. To achieve this goal, it recognised it was essential to improve data collection and use, and end the need for repetitive data entries.

The DKD meets this goal. Mainly because of the versatile characteristics of the DKD wich makes it possible for any institution to ‘connect’ to the database: the DKD runs in the background while the ‘face’ and identity of the institution stays the same.

On the first of January 2008 the law ‘One-off Data Entry Work and Income’ has come into effect. DKD supports this principle: "Ask once, record once, use multiple times" - The DKD makes it possible to ask for data once, record it once and re-use it repeatedly throughout the whole work and income service chain. It is mandatory for the involved institutions to supply this data electronically. Some parts of the dossier are available to the client for revision as well as to the professionals who require access to the information.

On the first of April of 2008 DKD Phase I was completed. On the first of October 2008 DKD Phase II started and will further implement the results of Phase I as well as expand the possibilities of usage of DKD. By doing this, the law 'One-off Data Entry Work and Income’ can be extended to more data elements.

Description of target users and groups

The DKD was developed to help over more than 50 000 professionals involved in the Dutch work and income services, as well as over 500 000 citizens who claim benefit because of unemployment.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

During the complete implementation process there will be an ongoing dialogue with customers. They know best which functionality DKD lacks and which data should be added; these wishes will be compared with the goals of work participation and e-inclusive government.

The programme uses a dynamic approach where we start with several workshops to meet some clients and collect their wishes. In the second part of the programme we will meet with a steady group of clients on a regular basis where we will compare the results of the programme, with client needs. This will influence some of the ongoing projects.

The same method is used for professionals in our environment, although in this case we will make use of existing user groups in the field and by consulting professionals we will be able to re-use best practices that have already been adopted by some professionals, but where many could profit.

Technology solution

DKD is a "virtual dossier" that consists of many different sources that should be able to communicate with each other. For this reason specific transaction standard are developed based on open standards: all transactions are SOAP/XML based. WSDL technology has also been introduced.

Unlike other digital dossiers, DKD has avoided the use of one large database; the idea is that this will only cause a major point of failure. Currently more than 300 sources are interconnected with each other and made available in different back-office applications. Because of the use of open standards, existing applications can connect relatively easy with the large source of information that DKD provides. All connections are only made through a secure network that is only connected to trusted third parties.

To understand the content of the messages a data register containing definitions for all data elements is also available. DKD also uses advanced portal to portal technology to exchange functionalities between different portals of different parties; by doing this the chain of work and income can always give the client the same information: the 'no wrong door' principle.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards, Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

Benefits for citizens:

With DKD the client can apply for benefits through the internet. This is executed on the basis of ‘reversed intake': the ultimate goal is that professionals ask information from clients only once. In some cases professionals do not ask clients anymore but re-use the information from the back offices. The application the client receives already contains known data; the client needs to check this information and complete the form.

Estimations are that in the long run; this will save up to two hours per application with a total of 550 000 hours or 800 000 Euros per year. Moreover the client can expect greater attention and time spent on their needs because less time is wasted on checking and/or finding data and documents.

For professionals:

The professionals who use the system can be more confident about the data it contains, allowing them to offer a better service to their clients, improving their working environment and their job. With DKD the administrative procedures are reduced because of its unique database structure; it provides accurate and actual information to every party involved. Reduction of administrative procedures is one of the main goals of the Dutch e-government policy.

For eGovernment:

DKD is a direct electronic answer to the problem of data exchange faced by many government departments and agencies as well for many citizens who require to use work and income services. Specifically the DKD offers the following electronic services:

  • electronic access through www.werk.nl;
  • DigiD, a 'login code' for citizens. Due to unique access numbers for individuals and organisations, anyone accessing the system can be identified; 
  • national registrations ensuring all related information is gathered together in the same area;
  • links to the Personal Internet Page (PIP: mijnoverheid.nl), an internet site allowing citizens to access government services;
  • links to eForms, a national service managing all electronic forms, ensuring any known data is entered automatically and that no time is wasted duplicating data.

DKD is compatible and linked to other government online services and recognises a unique login code given to all citizens who wish to access the government's services online.

Return on investment

Return on investment: €500-999,000

Track record of sharing

The DKD brings eGovernment two steps closer; First of all, we put it into practise, showing how this can be concretely done; secondly, it is a catalyst for change, with many other government services, showing interest in how they might use it to improve their efficiency. For example the ‘Social Support Act' (WMO), Child Welfare services' e-child dossier and Education's e-learning dossier. The DKD was developed to be compatible with the government's Personal Internet Page (PIP: www.mijnoverheid.nl).

By using the DKD system, it will be possible in the future to access a client's data directly through PIP, which in return will be linked to other departments such as the National Tax Office, Kadaster, SVB and IBG. This is also likely to have far reaching implications for other government authorities and agencies throughout Europe as people become more mobile.

In the Netherlands, we are bringing employment and income related services together. The DKD is yet another step forward in improving the efficiency of these services to the benefit of the citizen and the government alike.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - To keep listening.

In today's world, an individual expects the same level of service from the government as he expects from their bank or insurance company for example.

Lesson 2 - Do not force change.

A project such as this encompasses many different agencies, departments and divisions and will only succeed if organisations adopt it willingly.

Lesson 3 - To persevere.

It requires perseverance to make a technically-challenging, pioneering project like this a success. You must be prepared to take that challenge and see it through to completion.

Scope: National
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