Applying for child benefit when registering the birth of the first child
From the innovation budget 2020 we found out about the digital birth registration experiment. We saw this as an opportunity to investigate whether we could take care of the Child Benefit declaration directly in the digital birth registration. This from the perspective of more convenience for new parents and supporting the one government service.
More information about allocating the innovation budget:
Allocation Innovation budget 2020: the 24 selected projects Innovation budget – Digital Government
Purpose and why are we doing this?
The primary goal of this experiment is to find out by means of explorative research what it means for the SVB, citizens and chain partners to realize services from the vision of one government. The primary goal is therefore to gain knowledge and experience and to share this with the SVB and the rest of the government.
We use the case AKW applications when registering the birth of the first child. Parents do not have to do anything with the following children, a letter will follow with the new amounts. The actual realization of this possibility for citizens could be a consequence of this project, but it is not in scope and should be tackled in a separate project.
The chance of greater convenience for new parents
When we started this experiment, we assumed that new parents want more convenience and are not waiting to apply for child benefit in addition to registering a birth, either online or offline after a period of time. Didn't they already have contact with the government? Couldn't that be easier, we thought. By joining the Digital Birth Registration project, we could test this assumption. This was an opportunity for us to investigate this. Inquiries with the SVB showed that there were no negative signals about this assumption, for example through complaints or feedback from users of Child Benefit. A short tour of our own network showed that it might be easier, but the separate application for Child Benefit was not experienced as an extra burden, partly because the application for Child Benefit was prepared and was experienced as very simple, simple and understandable.
We can't do everything at once
Because we cannot validate all assumptions at the same time, we first focus on the assumptions about the citizen and organization. We therefore started with what we consider to be the 5 most important assumptions. This is also because we design people-oriented. We therefore started with the people for whom we do it, namely new parents, they are waiting for this. In addition, it is important to know whether this is technically and legally possible.
Research using assumptions
Based on our 5 biggest assumptions, we start various studies to validate or invalidate them. Below are our assumptions, including our approach and its results.
We formulated assumptions from the perspective of the citizen (1), the organizations (2), the technology (1) and from the perspective of laws and regulations (1).
Assumption 1: Parents of a first-born child experience a higher or equal current customer value and give a high (positive) rating for the service when they can request AKW when registering the birth (validated)
For this assumption, we conducted user research (UX), students from Fontys University of Applied Sciences carried out a customer journey and also developed prototypes, after which various new parents were interviewed.
This showed that new parents do not prefer to register a birth and child benefit in one go. In the first instance, people prefer to go to the town hall for the birth registration. The argument that emerged here was that people are proud of their child and like to report this personally to the municipality. There are also parents who want to do it digitally, but with the tested prototypes we have not been able to validate everything in one go. If it becomes more common in the future to declare the birth digitally, the need may grow to also submit the Child Benefit declaration, but this will then have to be investigated again. There are not yet many municipalities that support digital birth registration.
We have not validated this assumption.
Assumption 2: The management of the SVB and RVB think that applying for AKW when registering a birth also fits in with the vision of one government. It is an assumption that we have the same interpretation of this.
For this assumption, we conducted a short test with several members of the Executive Board and 1 member of the Executive Board. It emerged that this certainly fits within the vision of one government. With the caveat that it is validated that citizens, the people for whom we do it also want it and it will not be offered as the only option.
We have validated this assumption.
Assumption 3: Organizationally we can work together between the SVB and municipalities so that joint services related to the life event “birth of a child” can continue to be provided in a sustainable manner.
To this end, we conducted research based on the Child Benefit process at the SVB and partnerships between, for example, the Municipality of Haarlem and the SVB.
This revealed that the SVB processes do not currently allow an additional way of applying. This is partly due to a batch process for preparing the application for Child Benefit, which new parents are informed about. This will change in the future as soon as the technical infrastructure can handle it. It is also not desirable to make agreements per municipality on how to exchange data, but always to agree on this collectively.
We have partially validated this assumption.
Assumption 4: Technically, municipalities and the SVB can link their processes for birth registration and AKW application.
For this we have done research from the technical architecture of the SVB.
This revealed that the technical infrastructure and processes behind it of the SVB currently do not allow an additional way of applying. This will change in the future as soon as the technical infrastructure can handle it. It is also not desirable to make agreements per municipality on how to exchange data, but always to agree on this collectively.
We have partially validated this assumption.
Assumption 5: From a legal point of view (GDPR, Principles, Liability, processing responsibility) we are allowed to have AKW applied for by citizens when registering a birth.
A peer review showed that there are no legal objections to doing this as long as the current data processing remains intact through the current process at the SVB. If other ways of data processing are to take place, an extensive legal investigation will have to take place.
We have validated this assumption.
Conclusion & follow-up
The most important starting point for this research is whether the people concerned, new parents, are waiting for this new way of registering a birth in combination with applying for Child Benefit. This research shows that the people we interviewed are not waiting for this. In addition, due to the current processes and technical possibilities, it is not possible to combine applying for Child Benefit with submitting a birth registration.
We therefore did not proceed with our investigation on this basis. We will take the learning points with us into the future, because increasing user-friendliness and working from 1 government is a major spearhead of Novum and the SVB.
After this research, we have come to the conclusion that we have learned enough for now. There is potential in the mindset to make it easier for new parents, even though the need is not necessarily great right now. This may well be the case in the rapidly changing world. The technical infrastructure is still very much in development and will rapidly take shape in the coming years due to emerging technologies and trends. To learn even more about this subject, more time and energy will have to be put into it, since the "problem" is not valid at the moment, it is not a priority for this from different parties.
Opportunities for existing services
Because new parents are increasingly given the opportunity to digitally register the birth at the municipality, the possibilities for informing in a digital way have been increased. Because the digital birth registration will often be standardized, it will not be difficult to connect with this and this will offer opportunities for newer forms of service. After all, we have to be where the people we do it for are.
Opportunities for new services
There are certainly opportunities for new services as soon as the technical infrastructure is also suitable for this. For example, being able to do digital birth registration at all municipalities, whereby the data exchange must take place in real time. In addition, the SVB will have to ensure that real-time addition and therefore also the preparation of the promoted application is possible.
For now, we will stop this experiment. Which does not alter the fact that there are still possibilities in the future to overcome the obstacles that we have written down in our assumptions. If you have contact with the government, you prefer to arrange everything in one go. People's needs are constantly changing, as are the technical possibilities. That is why it is recommended to keep an eye on this.