Case Studies

Discovery about Clinical Excellence Awards for the Department of Health and Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care asked us to deliver a discovery project to inform decisions about the digital service used to administer the national Clinical Excellence Awards scheme.

The £136m* national Clinical Excellence Awards scheme is a longstanding scheme that has been running in some form for the last 70 years. It rewards consultant doctors, dentists and academic GPs working for the NHS in England and Wales who are able to demonstrate clinical excellence, over-and-above the standard expected in their role.

The incumbent digital service enables consultants to apply for awards, but also facilitates a complex process of sign-off, endorsement, scoring and payment, alongside numerous other administrative tools and processes.

We spoke to stakeholders and users of the service, and conducted field research. And we used the findings to map out the end-to-end process in a service journey map. We developed a prioritised backlog of user needs for each of the user roles (applicants, employers, scorers, rankers, administrators), and then led a workshop to explore concepts that would address the highest priority needs. We then developed a set of digital concept prototypes, and tested them with users of the current service.

On the face of it, the incumbent digital service was a fairly straightforward application service. But the scheme has a long history, and the process has been changed and adapted over many years, and the supporting IT has not kept pace.

Echoes of previous (paper) processes persisted alongside the digital elements, and our research highlighted the resulting complexities of the service. We were able to reveal them to the service owners by exploring the many steps involved in the service journey.

We made recommendations across user experience, scope, the role of the service owner, technology, and governance. The department is now considering how to proceed in response to our recommendations.

*2018/19 figure

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