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This week at GDS

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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.

(Full transcript below)

What have you been up to this week?

This has been a massive week for us, we released a whole slew of services on the Worldwide section of GOV.UK. We’ve had over 200 embassies, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and Department for International Development (DFID) agencies around the world in 44 languages using GOV.UK. Clearly it’s doubled traffic already, so it’s great and it’s probably going to be our biggest week for GOV.UK. It’s a terrific effort by the team and it’s great to see the Hawaiian shirts in the office to mark the launch and also our colleagues from Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) welcomed us over to celebrate that. It’s been great to work with them.

I should single out Janet Hughes, our policy content co-ordinator, for thanks, because we’ve put about 40 more policies onto GOV.UK this week and it becomes a richer repository of government policy. So it’s a huge week and it’s a great win for the team to show how much content and how many services can be moved on in one go.

Also, we had 4 more departments move over to GOV.UK; Department of Health, two sites came over from there, DFID, Home Office and the Welsh Office. It's a huge migration of content onto GOV.UK and to show we can do all that in one week is testament to the hard work that team’s put in. I hope they have a lovely Easter.

Can you tell us about this week's events?

Yes, firstly the supplier event. We have regular supplier events, we’re trying to open up the government supply chain for digital companies. Bit of an interesting one this week because actually we had an event for the companies that have already got very large IT contracts and services into government and know us very well. We explained to them the whole new frameworks approach that we’re bringing through. Mike Beaven, our transformation lead and his team will probably talk about that next week and show how the landscape is changing for them. So there’s a bit of a challenge in there, but also one that some of those organisations I’m sure can respond to positively.

We also did a bit of policy work, I spoke at a Policy Exchange event with Rohan Silva and Liam Maxwell. Rohan has been central to the creation of GDS and has really been driving and been supporting it from Number 10 since inception, so it was good to help them out there.

On Wednesday we had probably the most interesting meeting of the year so far when we hosted Wednesday Morning Colleagues. That’s the permanent secretaries’ weekly meeting. Sir Jeremy Heywood and Sir Bob Kerslake were good enough to host that here at GDS, Aviation House. We had the opportunity to show them the work we’ve been doing and I think we made a big impression on some of those permanent secretaries, it was great.

What’s happening next week?

I’m on holiday next week so Mike Beaven will be taking this and there’s some interesting reports coming out from the National Audit Office that I’m sure we’ll be able to talk about then.

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