Case study: Triad Group transforms DfT's renewable fuel obligation

A simple, reusable set of components

clock • 2 min read
Case study: Triad Group transforms DfT's renewable fuel obligation

Triad Group transformed the Department for Transport's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, cutting error risk by 75%.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) is designed to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas by incentivising biofuel production.

Under the RTFO, UK transport fuel suppliers of petrol, diesel, gas, oil or renewable fuel must meet an annual obligation, using tradeable certificates awarded for fuel supply from sustainable and renewable sources.

Worth £2.7bn to the industry, the obligation is administered by the Department for Transport's RTFO Unit. Because of the RTFO, over 3 billion litres of renewable fuel were supplied for use in UK transportation in 2022.

That figure represented 5.47% of total transport fuel supplied and delivered greenhouse gas savings roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.4 million cars.

Our task was to update an outdated legacy digital service that administered the obligation. We spent two years designing and implementing this new digital service and it went live in 2023, delivered using Google Cloud Platform's Kubernetes Engine.

Crucially, we have reused the system's components and design elements in another government department, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, to expedite the Clean Heat Market Mechanism digital service, supporting domestic boiler and heat pump manufacturers.

The intuitive new system is transformational for users because it:

  • Needs no legislative knowledge to use it.
  • Eliminates the need for multiple declarations per application.
  • Detects unusual applications.
  • Aligns reporting timelines with HMRC and RTFO. 
  • Operates in real-time, without monthly application deadlines. 
  • Enabled a problem free and seamless transition away from the legacy system 

Using Google Cloud Platform's Kubernetes Engine, we adopted a Government Digital Service Standard approach, customising the user journey based on the context of each application, so that the user would only see fields relevant to their answers. This reduced the possibility of error and guided users by providing sensible and allowable responses. 

  • Error risk reduced by 75%. 
  • Enquiry response time reduced by 25%. 
  • Steps to communicate reduced by 40%. 
  • The time to receive credit incentives was reduced from three months to two weeks. 
  • System administration is now part-time. It was a full-time job. 
  • Unlike the legacy system: 
    • No special training is required. 
    • No post-completion tasks are required. 
    • Applications are scanned automatically. 
    • Risks of noncompliance are automatically flagged. 

 "This new, modern, efficient system has made our job ensuring compliance with the legislation so much easier. Suppliers can control their applications, creating less frustration and very few problems to deal with," said Andy Robertson, product owner in the RTFO Unit.

As principal consultant in Triad Group's Delivery Practice, Simon has over 20 years' experience delivering waterfall and agile projects. On this project, he worked as the Delivery Manager and Scrum Master, supporting the team, facilitating all the agile scrum ceremonies and taking responsibility for overall schedule planning, managing resource allocations, budgets, risks and issues.

This project saw Triad Group shortlisted at the Digital Technology Leaders Awards 2024. Winners will be announced on 3rd July.

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