New name for Digital Service Standard as update announced

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced plans to update the Digital Service Standard ahead of introducing a new name for it – ‘Government Service Standard’.

According to a blog post written by the department’s Stephen Gill and Lydia Howland, it will move beyond the current focus of the standard, transactional digital services, to examine other elements of the end-to-end service.

“We’re moving from looking at isolated transactions to looking at whole, end-to-end services,” the post says. “Services as users understand them. Such as learning to drive, or starting a business. This is highlighted by a commitment in the Government Transformation Strategy to design and deliver joined-up services. Government needs a standard that will support and encourage this next phase of work.”

Well timed to coincide with National Customer Service Week (which gets underway on 2nd October), the post goes on to say: “We’re looking at how a revised standard could help encourage service teams to bring operational colleagues into their decision-making. So there are more opportunities for caseworkers, call centre staff and other operational specialists to use their knowledge and expertise to help shape services.

“We want to make it clear that everything the user interacts with is part of the service – the content on GOV.UK as well as the transactional part of the service. And we’re looking at how we can make transforming back-end technology and processes part of the picture.

“To do this, we want to make solving the right problem and getting the parameters or scope of your service right an explicit part of the standard. To reflect this approach, we plan to change the the name of the standard: from the ‘Digital Service Standard’ to the ‘Government Service Standard’.”


Helping service teams

According to the authors, the GDS will prioritise producing guidance and patterns to help service teams meet the new version of the standard. It will also ensure guidance is structured so they support good decision-making by service teams at all levels of experience.

Legacy is a big challenge for many government services. Not just legacy technology: there’s a lot of legacy content on GOV.UK, for example.

For service teams dealing with significant legacy problems, it may not make sense to transform everything at once. In some situations, an ‘archaeological’ approach might work better: uncovering and fixing the layers of complexity one at a time.

Get involved

The GDS is keen to get your feedback and is encouraging those who work on government services to sign up to one of the workshops it is running in October:

Or if you can’t make it, join the email discussion group.

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