Department for Transport

Department for Transport


The Problem

Statistics Travel and Safety (STS) division of DfT has responsibility for the collection of data and provision of statistical analysis and advice on a wide range of topics related to personal travel including buses, taxis and disabled parking. Data collected is used to produce a range of National Statistics publications, available from GOV.UK DFT Statistics.

In the past surveys were distributed as paper based forms. This process was error prone and labour intensive. If mistakes were made the surveys had to be posted out again which delayed the collection of data. Data had to be manually entered into spreadsheets. The system was moved online in 2004 so the technology was very dated which didn’t allow for easy modifications.

As the surveys would be added, removed and changed at short notice it was essential the solution had flexibility and the ability to deliver in changing circumstances. The solution also need to support smart eforms needing computational validations and skip logic based on how questions are answered.

The DfT budget was small so the product had to be cost effective yet comply with GDS digital service standards, UK Government security standards and the Data Protection Act.

The Solution

A RFQ was released and aligned with Government policy in procuring cloud solutions. PretaForm Software as a Service was selected as the most cost effective solution that met their needs.

PretaForm is a low code platform which makes it quick to create, deploy and update the following government digital services such as esurveys, hospital discharge forms and benefit applications. PretaForm is GOV.UK ready and GDS compliant out of the box.

As DfT only had limited resources, they engaged PretaGov’s Professional Services to launch the surveys. PretaGov implemented the project using an iterative agile approach. PretaForm was able to build the forms and implement all the complex business logic easily without the need for hard coding.

 PretaForm used “hidewhens” or skip logic to route the user through the form by hiding questions and the content of whole pages based on previous answers. Calculations were also performed on previous answers (dynamically on the page) to further customise the user experience. For example, questions appeared that were triggered by dates, names and totals calculated from previous answers.

The PretaForm cloud scripting environment meant there was no limit to the types of calculations that can be performed. Pre-population of user data meant many fields were already filled out for the survey respondent.

 All data is stored safely in the PretaGov Government Cloud hosted in a Government accredited Tier 3 data centre with ISO 27001 certification. Data can be downloaded securely by administrators in various formats.

The Outcome

TNA are now able to cost effectively issue complex esurveys for data collection and analysis. In the future non-technical staff can modify and build new esurveys.

The solution uses cloud technology and will scale in performance and cost based on volume. Thus saving the public purse from under utilised hosting hardware.