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Scotland catch the Experimental Prototype bug

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: GDS team, GOV.UK

Yesterday I spent a hugely interesting and informative day meeting colleagues in Glasgow. One of the highlights for me was being able to congratulate David Hall (pictured) from the Scottish Government on the launch of the experimental prototype two days ago. He's kindly written the blog post below explaining more:

Don’t worry about it not being perfect. Do something quickly. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Learn from what others tell you... words that don’t fit well with government but this is GDS thinking that we (the Scottish Government) have applied to create ‘DirectScot’ and we’re really pleased that it’s finally out there for comment. is an experimental prototype

The DirectScot prototype, launched this week, aims to bring to life our thinking for a better, faster, cheaper way of delivering the wide range of central and local government information and services in Scotland. The move to create an authoritative public services portal built for the convenience of the citizen has been long in the making but the prototype itself has come about at pace.

This is just the beginning and we’ve developed a set of guiding principles to work to:

  • Simplify the experience of accessing public services online
  • Put users first and give them a say
  • Be consistent, comprehensive and authoritative
  • Reduce costs
  • Establish common platforms

How does it all fit together? The prototype builds on the current Directgov API, blending UK national and Scottish devolved information with local services from four of Scotland’s local authorities. We’ve opted for open source search with Solr-Lucene right at the heart of the DirectScot experience driving users to the 300 most popular topics.

To show the prototype at its best we’ve optimised several user journeys that demonstrate the range of  transactions and information available such as applying for a disabled parking blue badge and how to get legal aid in Scotland.

And a big thank you to colleagues at the GDS for their support, and for what we’ve been able learn from
You can try out the prototype at and find out more about our thinking through the blog and Twitter @DirectScot. We'd welcome your feedback.

Dave Hall
DirectScot Prototype Lead at the Scottish Government

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  1. Comment by Tony Gilbert posted on

    I have to say I really love the clean, open feel of this website. It's understated but still elegant.

    Love the predictive search, and the courage to rely on it as the primary means of navigation - I have wanted to do that for a long time.

    Very nice. Look forward to seeing it evolve. How big do you expect it to get in terms of topics/services being served?

  2. Comment by Tony O'Grady posted on

    I like what I've seen so far and I'm glad to see Open Source tech being adopted. Are there any further tech details - what other Open Source is in use?

    Also, was using the alpha/ platform being developed at GDS considered?