Import and Export as a Government Platform

A cargo ship at Felixstowe port


A Government Digital Service (GDS) led programme called One Government at the border (1G@B) undertook a discovery phase in mid-2015 to identify how collective services across Government could come together to control the movement of goods in and out of the UK. The programme highlighted at least 60 ‘permissions’ associated with the movement of goods across the border with a common journey being identified.

Diagram of permissions

Developing the Platform

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has now taken the lead in developing a cross-government platform for permissions, focusing (at first) on replacing the current SPIRE electronic licensing system which provides a platform for import and export control. User research has identified that licences, approvals and permissions across the border are very similar and, as a result, we will be looking to create a common user journey and ensure that obtaining a licence, approval or permission is intuitive as possible to aid importers and exporters in moving goods across the border.

The Vision

This platform will be a ‘one stop shop’ for import and export across government and will enable importers & exporters to identify if their goods are controlled and also the licence options available. Feedback from industry is that the user journey can be complicated and this results in almost 50% of export licence applications to BIS resulting in requests for more information from the applicant. The goal is to create a service that enables importing and exporting and doesn’t hinder it; we want to ensure no matter what size the company or value of import/export that the user journey is consistent and that we can provide an advantage to companies in increasingly competitive markets across the world.

How would a Government Platform impact your company? would it make it easier to export? let us know your thoughts in the comments section and any suggestions to improve your user journey.


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