‘Cradle to grave’ IT deal signed by Irish Government

23 Jun 2004

The Irish Government has signed a deal with software firm Propylon for the deployment of a new life event service. The service, the Death Event Publication Services (DEPS), is the result of a collaboration between Reach, the General Registrar Office and the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

DEPS enables government departments and agencies to receive validated death event notifications for use in their internal business processes. The goal of the service is to enable government agencies to use the information to add value and insight into their business transactions with public service customers.

The service is delivered over the Inter Agency Messaging Service (IAMS), a messaging technology solution deployed by Propylon for Reach to support the electronic exchange of customer data among agencies in the public service. DEPS sits as a service on the IAMS and allows public service agencies to subscribe to or receive business level messages over the Government Virtual Private Network (gVPN). The messages can be either directly consumed by departmental or agency computer systems, or be manually downloaded and implemented within the department or agency.

The first IAMS service, launched mid-2003, centred on services surrounding the birth of a child. Using IAMS, the General Register Office (GRO) notifies Client Identity Services (CIS) in the Department of Social and Family Affairs about a birth. CIS then assigns the newborn baby with a Personal Public Services Number (PPSN). GRO also uses the IAMS to electronically send statistics on births, deaths and marriages to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The new DEPS service deployed by Propylon completes the ‘cradle to grave’ ethos of the IAMS service. The DEPS ‘publish and subscribe’ service is not limited to life event related notifications; it can also support many other types of message-based event notification. Therefore, the DEPS code will be made available by Reach for reuse by other public service agencies, who choose to develop ‘sectoral hubs’ such as the IAMS, potentially relieving them of a significant amount of cost and effort.

Oliver Ryan, the director of Reach commented: “DEPS is built on the existing IAMS infrastructure, using message standards, data standards and models, developed and agreed by Reach in conjunction with a number of other public service agencies. DEPS is a good example of a ‘business-driven’ service in that its development was sparked by demand from public service agencies for early notification of deaths of subscribers to enable them to realise significant savings in payments of pensions, medical benefits and so on.”

Propylon’s chief technology officer, Sean McGrath, cited DEPS as a good example of public service business integration where agencies and departments can choose how and when to make use of a centrally provided service to improve internal business processes.

“The fact that the information is available to the agencies in a XML format means they can choose how to make use of the information within their own systems, in a way that fits with their business processes, nothing has to change, but the capacity to modernise and improve service delivery is available to them,” McGrath said.

By John Kennedy