Tag Archives: GDS

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Government Technology: Infrastructure, Enablement & Delivery

Government Technology

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Infrastructure Enablement & Delivery


The Government Digital Service (GDS) – part of the Cabinet Office and the Efficiency and Reform Group – is responsible for GOV.UK, but also has the wider remit of ‘making public services simpler’. The GDS breaks down the process of designing a service into five stages, in which teams will:

  • Discovery – start to research user needs, decide what to measure, explore constraints
  • Alpha – prototype solutions, test with users, receive early feedback
  • Beta – develop in a live environment, release a test version
  • Live – iteratively improve the service, react to new needs, meet original targets
  • Retirement – exercise the same level of care as at all other stages

By working in small, multi-disciplinary, ‘agile’ teams to build the alpha version of GOV.UK in around ten weeks, the GDS led by example, and in developing the digital by default service manual it has set the benchmark for consistently high quality digital services.

Digital by Default Service Standard

The Digital by Default Service Standard is a set of 26 criteria which must be met by a service in order for it to gain the approval of a Government Digital Service assessment panel. The document is intended to inform the work of digital teams and to help managers select those people and organisations with the requisite skills to enable the service they develop to meet the standard. Number one on the list is understanding user needs, but other criteria include:

A sustainable multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and senior service manager with decision-making responsibility

  • Evaluate the privacy risks
  • Put appropriate assisted digital support in place
  • Put appropriate assisted digital support in place
  • Use analytics tools that collect performance data
  • Test the service from beginning to end with the minister responsible for it

Government Service Design Manual

The Digital by Default standard has been a requirement for all new or redesigned transactional government services since April 2014, and it must be maintained for the life of said services. The Government Service Design Manual is provided to help service managers and digital delivery teams fulfil those criteria set out in the Service Standard and produce high-quality services within a consistent framework.

The design manual pools guidance and resources for all of the individuals and teams involved in the process of taking a digital service from discovery to retirement, including user researchers, content designers, developers, technical architects and performance analysts. The guides available cover areas from guidance for transforming technology through design principles to tools for measuring performance.

Why Attend

Government Technology: Infrastructure, Enablement & Delivery will afford attendees the opportunity to engage with expert speakers, solution providers, and fellow delegates on the digital transformation of public services. Focusing on what it means to build services that users actively choose to use over the alternatives, we will ask how service managers and IT teams can adapt their expertise and skills to the challenges they face.


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UK GDS Identity Assurance

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Identity and access management is one of the most challenging aspects of securing citizen, and from a National Health Service perspective patient, engagement on-line with services and information. This especially important when the engagement extends to on-line access to highly personalised information specific to individual citizens.

As the government digital service (GDS) makes progress on the digitisation of services it is pleasing to see that the team leading the development of services are engaging with experts to advice and guide on the development of key engagement protocols.

However whilst the current scope is concerned with the one to one relationship between citizens and government services, the real challenge to come for GDS identity assurance will be that of on-line engagement between citizens and healthcare service provision.

NHS Digital First

With the NHS Digital First initiative, on-line patient access to medical records, at least those hosted by the GP, are expected to be available by 2015. Other health initiatives such as the Delivery of Assisted Living and Lifestyles at Scale (DALLAS) is thinking beyond traditional health and social care, to consider how new ideas and technology can be used to improve the way people live.

From a healthcare perspective, it is widely acknowledged now that technology has significant potential to radically transform, and consequently improve the care delivery model, this especially so for the 15 million citizens in the UK presently living with one or more long-term chronic (LTC) conditions, and just as importantly the extraordinary individuals that provide care support to those suffering from LTC(s) that are typically family members and or friends.

And here is the catch, realistically the benefits to be derived from digital engagement with patients with LTC(s), encompassing tele-health, tele-care and assisted living technologies with access to medical information, will increase considerably if engagement becomes extended to the patients care circle, this largely taking the form of family and friends.

Extending Access

A patient’s personal care circle can often feature a wide number of different individuals, performing a range of different roles, for example:

A friend living close by might have a mentor role on diet and / or medication, a family member might be designated as the primary carer, and be the driver for GP and hospital appointments, another family member living further away might want access to assisted living device monitoring information and thus have an arm’s length role in care provision.

The biggest benefits subsequently and frequently argued to be so, are to derived from the provision of better support to the millions of citizens providing care, sufficient to enable them to more confidently undertake better informed interventions to head of negative escalations of a condition that can easily be avoided, and thus referral to a GP, or worse hospital.

Critically for these benefits to be realised quickly, Health and social care engagement needs to be capable of reaching the carer circle in the most appropriate way, identifying these individuals and the care roles they are undertaking is a key first step, with the capability to support citizen / patient consent to access appropriate health and social care information to their personal care circle, a vital second step.

Bigger Brief for Identity and privacy Management

Consequently, Identity and Access Management investment in solutions for the digital agenda needs to be capable of addressing more than just the requirements on the basis of a single citizen or patient. It needs to be capable of accommodating and managing information on relationships between citizens and their family / friends and from a health perspective, the roles that these additional individuals may be undertaken on behalf of the patient, and of course patient consent to access their information, to whomever they choose!

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Computer Weekly Article



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