Dealing with fraudulent applications at Identity & Passport Service

by | Aug 21, 2009 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change

Shortlisted for ‘Blended Learning Solution of the Year’ at the WOLCE Awards in November 2008, receiving a ‘Special Mention Commendation’ at the e-learning awards 2008 for “Excellence in the production of learning content” and now the winner of the UK National Training Award, this case study provides a fascinating insight into a complex blended learning programme dealing with sensitive subject matter, large scale implementation with many first time users.

Providing Evidence for Change through their ‘Authentication by Interview’ (AbI) process using e-learning as part of a blended approach, Identity and Passport Service (IPS) have:
  • Supported a huge change management programme within IPS
  • Delivered a positive ROI of approx 2:1
  • Reached agreed performance standards and improved customer satisfaction, confirmed by independent surveys.
  • Opened 68 new offices, employing 600 staff to interview adult passport applications.
Identity and Passport Service (IPS), formerly UK Passport Service, is an executive agency of the Home Office responsible for issuing UK passports and ID cards. IPS works closely with the UK Border Agency, UKvisas and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to deliver consistent service standards for identity documents across these organisations. The Agency has a key role in transforming the way government interacts with UK citizens and businesses by developing common standards in identity management.
IPS introduced significant changes to British passports in order to:
  • fight passport fraud and forgery
  • protect the UK public from identity theft
  • ensure the British passport remains one of the most secure and respected in the world
Their directive was clear: to deter and detect fraudulent applications for passports. In order to do this, IPS determined that the highest risk area for fraud and identity theft was first-time adult applicants for passports. And the most effective way in combating this fraud would be to interview every new customer that applies for a first time passport.
The process of Authentication by Interview (AbI) was introduced with a great deal of scepticism to the British population. Not only would new applicants need to be interviewed, but an entire network of field offices would have to be created.  Scepticism was rife as this was a big ask for any organisation – particularly so for a government agency.
Implementing AbI not only involved major organisational change but also created a new model of working. Organisationally, IPS faced the phenomenal challenge of having to open 68 new regional offices, hire approximately 600 new staff and train these new employees on everything from office management procedures and systems training to interviewing skills. Crucially, the job roles that IPS had to recruit for were brand new. And although the new policies and procedures that underpin the AbI process complimented existing IPS work patterns, they were nonetheless new to the organisation.
By opening a network of offices, IPS was shifting its entire operational model from a corporate model with seven regional offices to serve its customers to a retail model with an enormous UK geographic disbursement. This represented not only a business model shift but a cultural shift for the organisation.
A defining strength for the success of this programme has been the quality of the partnership between IPS, LINE and PwC, and both LINE and PwC had to ensure that their employees working on the project had security clearance due to the sensitive nature of the programme content.
Hot Tips on achieving high levels of success with a large scale, complex project from IPS:
1. Ensure that all stakeholders, internal & external are fully involved & engaged.
2. Create strong and open relationships with all internal & external partners.
3. Consider the change management issues as a result of significant new processes, systems, personnel and/or locations.
4. Identify the overall training requirements through a series of analysis mechanisms including questionnaires, workshops & showcases.
5. Establish a team of internal champions (Knowledge Advisors) who can independently audit, endorse and support the programme.
6. Make sure you do some ‘dry runs’ for practice before you go ‘live’.
7. Seek to incorporate ROI calculations at work inception to demonstrate a cost effective solution.
8. Undertake independent surveys to confirm ongoing effectiveness.
9. Develop standards of competence so staff know what is expected of them.
10. Ensure that you create a finely balanced blend of face-to-face and online materials.
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