Working out loud: Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) Calculator – Building the collaboration team

6 May 2015, 8:30 am

Picture: iStockphoto/nuiiun

Picture: iStockphoto/nuiiun

The idea for a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) calculator API came out of our discovery and co-design events in 2014.

We found that demand existed for an online calculator to help determine eligibility and costs for people to enter into a deferred payment agreement (DPA) with their local authority.

As the DPA calculation is fairly consistent across every local authority, we felt we could approach and develop a solution nationally, which could be used and adapted locally.


Partnering with a supplier – the selection process

We got in touch with system suppliers to see if they were interested in working on the DPA Calculator and asked them to show us what one might look like. We didn’t dictate which approach to take and made it clear that we were open to ideas.

We then invited a couple of suppliers to present their ideas in late March. We chose to work with Cheshire-based company, iEG4, because their solution involved the development of open APIs under open government license.

We selected the supplier and the API approach because:

  • It matched our requirements to work openly and transparently and in a way that supports the wider market.
  • They are also building a feedback API to provide data about the usage of the calculators back into a central data repository, which can be used to establish any cost savings and to help shape future work.
  • Not all local authorities want to use a widget as they want to keep control of user experience and the “look and feel”.
  • Other suppliers and many local authorities are planning to develop DPA calculators, and it was felt that an API would open the market and provide the necessary tools and building blocks.
  • The API will be published along with the calculation formula and a user guide, making it easier for other suppliers and local authorities to build their own solutions.


Collaborating with local authorities and central government

We have also partnered with 8 local authorities and they are participating in discovery work to inform the development of the alpha calculator. They have committed to carrying out user testing and contributing to feedback and iterative improvements of the tool. In order to demonstrate the API working in a usable calculator online, iEG4 is supplying each of our partner local authorities with a custom calculator.

Alongside our supplier and partner local authorities, our colleagues in the Department of Health and other central government departments are providing policy insight and support to ensure the tool reflects the latest policy and practice.