This article discusses the disappointing performance of the new Sorting Out Separation Web Application and the implications going forward. Developed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) at a cost of £417,500, the Government intended the ‘Web app’ to be a key online information and support hub for separated parents to direct them to expert sources of help.
Yet the Web app is failing. In fourteen months, only 9,132 visitors have ventured beyond the home page to click on a signpost to an external organisation. This compares to the DWP target of attracting 260,000 such visitors in the first year. A redesign, following a critical evaluation (now just published), has failed to increase the traffic.
The poor performance of the Web app comes at a critical moment, with the DWP poised to begin a three year process of closing down almost a million Child Support Agency cases. The Minister in charge has promised MPs that the Web app will help parents sort out their own child maintenance arrangements in future - and thus avoid paying new Child Maintenance Service fees. But the evaluation and visitor data tell a different story.