GDS unveils new assessments for digital services

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has unveiled some new assessment processes that will be used to better deliver digital services.

In a blog post, the GDS said its proposed new assurance model, which is currently being tested, is designed to meet the needs identified during its discovery review of existing processes.

This process outlined that teams need:

  • advice and support from GDS from the start
  • assessors to have a deeper understanding of the service they’re assessing
  • greater consistency in the advice and recommendations they receive

The post, written by Trang Erskine, continued: “Under the new model, assessors will visit teams regularly at their location throughout the development of their service. A lead assessor will be assigned to each service and help the team to identify risks and any areas they need to focus on.

“The lead assessor will bring along expert assessors – for example, on user research or service design. This will allow all assessors to gain a better understanding of the service and give immediate, less formal recommendations about progress towards meeting the Standard.”

Under the proposals, assessors will have the option to observe team meetings, to see their physical boards and ask questions. They will have access to the whole team (not limited to the five members currently allowed to come to an assessment), see the team environment and the interactions with suppliers.

“We’re exploring ways to record the outcomes of visits that will allow service teams to track how they are progressing towards meeting each of the Service Standard points,” added Erskine.

“While the engagement will be continuous, there will still be assurance that a service meets the Standard before it’s made public. When the service approaches the end of a stage and is ready to progress, for example, from alpha to private beta, the lead assessor will bring along a ‘buddy’ to peer-review the service team. This will ensure objectivity and consistency.”

The new processes are currently in alpha phase and is road-testing the new model with a handful of departments over the next couple of months.

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