The Government Digital Service started out as a small group of people with experience building and running large online services. Since then we’ve grown the team, added lots of smart people, and talked to even more experts from other organisations. The Government Service Design Manual is an attempt to bottle that collective wisdom, with the aim of improving public services and making sure they meet the Digital by Default Service Standard.
So how did we write and review more than 286 (at the time of writing) items of guidance?
Last night we were surprised and proud to win the Design Museum’s Design of the Year award.
That picture sums up what I want to say. This is not just a win for GDS, this is a win for everyone across government.
In that picture there is a fraction of the team who have worked on this at GDS: designers, content editors, developers, product managers, operations, strategy, engagement, and project management people. There’s the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, and Rohan Silva, Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister. Pippa Norris from Ministry of Defence, Roger Oldham from Ministry of Justice and Adam Bye from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There’s also Margaret Calvert (who designed the UK road signage system in the ’60s) and our little award.
Today we launched the Government Service Design Manual. It sets out the agreed Digital by Default Service Standard, and provides tools, guidance and code to help teams across government achieve it.
It meets one of our 14 commitments in the Government Digital Strategy. And it demonstrates the future of collaboration and governance in government digital and technology: browser-based, iterative, owned by many, and with a strong bias towards action.
Highlights this week – a great presentation to all our staff from Adam Bye of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who’ve recently moved all their services to GOV.UK, and the completion of further departmental moves including Defra and the Ministry of Justice. The Student Loans Company, working with GDS, have just completed a major digital product release, including significant changes to their registration process. Several other large transactions at Defra, the Home Office, DWP and HMRC are also making progress.
Next week sees the full launch of our Service Standard manual – advising anyone who is working with us how we want to build public services online – and also the move of DWP’s corporate information to GOV.UK. Our other big news is that GOV.UK has won the Design Museum’s digital category for excellence in design this year.
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Last month was a really important one for the Digital by Default Service Standard. We launched our beta for one thing. Just as importantly, the Digital Leaders network – the people responsible for driving the digital agenda across government – agreed to the standard and the governance process for assessing services against it. Read more
Highlights this week – we published our first quarterly progress report on the Government Digital Strategy, setting out what’s been achieved since it was published in December. Work is now well underway on the transactional “exemplar” services – 9 are in either alpha or beta versions, and 4 currently in the first “discovery” stage.
Traffic to GOV.UK hit an all-time high of 6.13m visitors in the last week of February, which will only increase as more departments move across to GOV.UK. Tom Loosemore’s blog post on whether we should use apps (including a copy of his presentation) proved to be our most viral blog post. We’re also doing more to measure how much engagement we’re getting through the blog and through Twitter.
The National Audit Office published their Digital Britain Two report – useful praise for government’s work in the digital space, but also plenty to keep us on our toes, and some very useful recommendations for areas of improvement.
Next week – more departments join GOV.UK, including Ministry of Justice and Defra. Not long now until all departments are on there.
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Highlights this week – many more services make their transition to GOV.UK, including content with an international flavour in the form of the new Worldwide section. The policy content has also been strengthened with the addition of 15 new policies. Four more departments have joined GOV.UK in one week, leaving 6 to go.
Three events of note: one for large, established suppliers to government to look at the impact of new frameworks, a policy forum hosted by Policy Exchange, and a very important one in terms of relationships between government departments. The weekly meeting of permanent secretaries (heads of central government departments) was held in the GDS office at Aviation House – bringing a great opportunity to highlight the work of GDS in relation to each department.
Mike Beaven, who leads our transformation programme, will provide the weekly update next week, including more on commercial and contractual issues and relationships with suppliers.
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The Design Museum’s annual ‘Designs of the Year’ awards exhibition launched last week. As usual it’s an eclectic mix of architecture, fashion, digital, furniture, products, transport and graphics. Category winners and the overall winner will be decided by a jury and announced to the public on 17 April 2013.
Today the National Audit Office (NAO) published their Digital Britain Two report, examining the government’s digital by default strategy. In particular, the report took a close look at the strategy document we published last November, and assessed whether the evidence stacked up for taking the direction we’ve chosen.
The NAO’s views on what we’ve done are important, because they are both independent of government and responsible for checking that it spends public money wisely. Their reports are often very influential. In 2011 they published the Digital Britain One report (PDF, 556kB), which recommended five lessons that informed the newly created Government Digital Service (GDS).
Applying for licences is rarely a fun activity and this applies equally to the authorities responsible for processing them.
When you wanted a licence extension for your birthday party in a pub this would have traditionally involved a tedious and complicated paper process. Forms had to be completed by hand and in many cases copied to two or more authorities. The Electronic Licence Management System (ELMS) system launched in December 2009 and provided an online application option, however the uptake was slower than anticipated due to its complexity.
When the Businesslink site closed in October last year, the GOV.UK Licensing service – powering applications like registering a food business and holding a licensed event on unlicensed premises – launched alongside the main GOV.UK site. Since then it has processed around 15,000 licences.