Managing everyday errands like paying for school meals or applying for parking permits can be a time-consuming headache. Wouldn’t it be easier if households could carry out such tasks via an online one-stop shop?

Fortunately, for communities across Scotland, a digital solution exists that provides a simple and secure way of accessing a range of public services.

Hundreds of thousands of people from Edinburgh to the Highlands are now using the ‘myaccount’ service, which allows them to complete various important admin jobs at the click of a button.

The service side-steps the bureaucracy associated with tasks like managing your council tax, applying for housing benefits, highlighting environmental problems, reporting changes of circumstances, or accessing your health records.

It essentially means that those who are signed up to the service no longer need to spend time and money contacting council officials in writing or in person.

Helping residents with their digital relationships

We rolled out the ‘myaccount’ service alongside our technology partner, Tata Consultancy Services, in 2014 and since then it’s gone from strength to strength.

Of Scotland’s 32 councils, 27 are now either using or plan to use the service.

Our technology aims to put users at the forefront of public services through sound authentication. In the first three months of 2017, the service handled over half a million authentication requests, and over three quarters of a million in the next quarter.

The graph below illustrates the success and extent of which uptake has increased since 2014, showing a steady increase in the cumulative number of new accounts:

Examples of ‘myaccount’ in action

The service, which is funded by the Scottish Government, is helping households in a number of different ways.

A good example of ‘myaccount’ in action is parents using the service to pay for their children’s school meals. Using ‘Parent Pay’ and ‘powered by myaccount’, parents can pay for a child’s school meals online via City of Edinburgh Council’s website.

Similarly, thanks to iPayImpact – Online Schools Payment, parents in Aberdeenshire, West Lothian, North Lanarkshire, Fife, and in the Highlands can do the same.

Another example is the My Diabetes, My Way portal. Since the rollout, more than 12,000 patients have been able to securely access information related to their condition and test results through the NHS Scotland’s Diabetes Information in Scotland.

The service has also proved beneficial in enabling better access to environmental services, like reporting missed bin collections and processing council tax and benefits.

There are currently 17 public bodies enrolled on the system, although many more are in the pipeline.

An award-winning service

This year, we were recognised for our work on ‘myaccount’ – winning Holyrood Magazine’s 2017 Connect Citizen ICT Award, which is an outstanding achievement recognising the service for how well it engages with the public by putting people at the centre of what it does.

We are truly looking forward to seeing just how far and how much of a benefit this service will bring to the people of Scotland over the coming years.