Transforming a document-driven process for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A secure online system for registering foreign diplomats and their families

Overview

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Challenge

The Diplomatic ePortal is an online system for registering staff members at foreign missions and intergovernmental organisations (such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, Europol and the European Space Agency). The Netherlands hosts more than 100 embassies and 22,000 foreign employees of these organisations.

The personal data these individuals provide needed to be transferred to a highly secure internal digital system, which would significantly expedite a formerly paper-based process.

With the aim to meet the requirements of the Dutch government’s Digital Agenda, an important objective of this particular project was to enable secure digital registration worldwide. To do so, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the following objectives:
- Create a system that is user-friendly, to enable an easy, simple, and fast registration
- Build a security system that can guarantee privacy of personal data and that can keep unwanted visitors out
- Make use of existing systems, while radically innovating registration processes

"With the modernisation of the registration system, we have not only transformed the previously paper-based system, but we have also met high-security requirements."

Martijn Elgersma, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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The approach

User-focused design - Worth applied user-centred design throughout this project; involving users from central government, consulates and embassies in workshops and interviews during the discovery phase and in user tests during alpha and beta phases. Worth facilitated several evaluation and retrospective sessions to improve the process and collaboration.

Teamwork at its best - While conducting extensive workshops with different end-users (Ministry employees, diplomats, and foreign, international organisations), we were able to obtain a clear overview of the MFA’s complete process, in addition to the discrete requirements for users of the new system. While building the application, user tests were consistently conducted. Throughout this process, the Worth team worked closely together with the Ministry. We onboarded the stakeholders in an agile methodology and introduced systematised user testing. As a result of this rigorous approach to development, an intuitive and extremely efficient internet portal that serves user needs has been developed.

Results

Designing with users at the core - Delivering an intuitive and extremely efficient digital service that serves user needs.

Improving efficiency for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their foreign employees - The application has radically transformed how the ministry processes diplomat registrations, reducing workload, while improving efficiency.

Meeting high security requirements - Guaranteeing the privacy of personal data, and enabling secure digital registration worldwide.