Public Services > Devolved

NI’s Inland Fisheries Group nets digital transformation project

David Bicknell Published 25 October 2016

Kainos, BT and the NI Digital Transformation Service complete first phase of five-year strategy that includes customer experience, IT operations and business functions


Kainos and BT are working with the Northern Ireland Digital Transformation Service to deliver a digital project to rebuild the customer experience, IT operations and business functions of the country’s Inland Fisheries Group (IFG).

This project forms the first fundamental building block for a larger five-year transformation strategy within IFG that incorporates a new online service and customer portal. The strategy aims to remodel how permits are ordered and managed, along with providing a new mobile application that enables enforcement officers to check permits ‘on the go’ and the shared management system that enables information sharing.

The IFG hopes fishermen throughout the country will benefit from using a streamlined IFG licence application process.  A new single system with a simplified range of licences and permits is intended to make it easier for fishermen to find the right licence and for the IFG to be able to manage the process.

The IFG, part of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), is the regulatory body for angling and commercial fishing in Northern Ireland, and is the first port of call for everything from licences and permits to protection and education. Around 40,000 licences are processed each year.

Kainos built a new customer portal hosted on with a simplified user choice selection to ensure the correct permits are selected by customers using the online service. It also developed a mobile application to enable IFG enforcement officers to check a fisherman’s permit simply by taking the licence number. This eliminates the need for officers to see paper permits and then have to verify them with back office staff over the phone.

A shared management information system underpinned by a central database for permit holder details is also intended to make licence management enforcement processes much more efficient.

Distributor Una Savage from Downpatrick Visitor Information Centre said the new online system has transformed the way the centre works.

"The new paper-free process and automated invoicing saves time and allows us to provide a faster service. It also allows us to sell directly to people who receive DLA/Disabled benefits: before they had to contact DAERA and wait for their application to be processed and delivered through the post.”

Sam Bolton, divisional director from Kainos said, “The digital transformation of IFG is an example of how processes and systems can be refined, simplified and brought up-to-date to the benefit of both government organisations and their citizens. The cross collaboration efforts of the Digital Transformation Service, BT and Kainos have successfully delivered the first element in a larger strategic transformation of IFG services.”

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