Using Notify

Trial mode

When you create a GOV.UK Notify account, you’ll start in trial mode. This lets you try out the service, but has some restrictions in place.

You can remove these restrictions by going live.

Restrictions in trial mode

In trial mode, you can:

  • send up to 50 text messages and emails per day
  • send messages to yourself and other people in your team
  • draft letters (but not send them)

Sending messages

When you send a message, it moves through different states in Notify.

A picture of the sending flow of messages in Notify, showing the three states of Sending, Delivered, And Failed. Also shows the next
             steps when messages fail, deleting data and trying a new channel for permanent failures, and trying again or trying a new channel for
             temporary failures

Sending

This means that we’ve accepted the message and are sending it to our delivery providers.

Delivered

You’ll see this when Notify has successfully delivered a message to user’s email inbox or phone.

Notify won’t tell you if a user has opened or read a message.

Sent internationally

You’ll see this when Notify sends a text message to an international number, but mobile networks in that country don’t provide delivery receipts.

Phone number or email address does not exist

You’ll see this when Notify couldn’t deliver a message because the email address or phone number was wrong.

You should remove these email addresses or phone numbers from your database.

You’ll still be charged for text messages to numbers that don’t exist.

Inbox/phone not accepting messages right now

You’ll see this if Notify can’t deliver an email or text message after trying for 72 hours.

This might happen for a number of reasons. For example, the user’s inbox might be full, or their phone might be turned off.

You can try sending the message again if you want.

You’ll still be charged for text messages to phones that aren’t accepting messages.

Technical failure

A technical failure means there’s a problem between Notify and our delivery providers.

You’ll have to try sending your messages again.

You won’t be charged for text messages that are affected by a technical failure.

Receiving messages

Email replies

You can choose an email address you want replies to go to.

Text messages

You can contact us if you want to be able to receive text messages.

When you’ve done this, users will be able to reply to text messages you send them. They’ll also be able to start an interaction by sending you a text message.

You’ll be able to see and reply to text messages you receive. You can also create automated processes to manage replies.

You’ll still need to have a manual process in place for any messages that can’t be dealt with automatically.

Multiple services in one organisation

If your organisation offers multiple services, you can have a different Notify account for each of them.

Each service:

  • gets its own free message allowance
  • has to request to go live separately

Letters

Letters can be up to 10 pages long (5 sides of paper, double-sided).

Notify sends letters in C5 size envelopes, with a window.