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This week at GDS

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Highlights: This week we visited the DVLA in Swansea, went to their executive board and met the team working on 1 of the 23 exemplar transactions which are being redesigned to meet the digital by default service standard. DfE (Department for Education) and HMT (Her Majesty's Treasury) became numbers 22 and 23 out of the 24 central government departments moving to GOV.UK. We also visited the House of Lords to explain the changes to the identity scheme. Next week we move the 24th and final department site to GOV.UK, and there will be a special announcement mid week so keep your eyes on this blog…

What have we been up to at GDS this week?

Yesterday, we went to Swansea to see the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) where we go regularly, we have a team down there. We went to the executive board at DVLA to see their progress in terms of their digital agenda. It’s a big organisation; there are 6000 people down there providing all the motoring services for drivers and the insurance industry in this country.

We saw a project down there that the team have been doing; it’s 1 of the exemplars (23 exemplar transactions to be redesigned to meet the new digital by default service standard).

It will, very simply, allow drivers to see their points, their entitlements, and more details about the data held about them. It’s early days yet, but it looks really good. We expect to see something probably more in public beta later in the year, maybe in the autumn time. It was great to go down there, to meet the team, to see a lot of new skills, and post-its on the wall.

I should take a moment to say thanks to David Hancock, Carolyn Williams, Dai Vaughan, Rohan Gye and all the team down there; they’ve done a terrific job. It was good to go and we’re going back there again soon.

What else has been at happening at GDS this week?

We’re closing in on getting all the major departments onto GOV.UK. Two big wins this week: DFE (Department for Education) and HMT (Her Majesty's Treasury) moved to GOV.UK. Two big departments, number 22 and 23 out of the 24 departments. Next week we move some more assets over and we can celebrate moving central government onto GOV.UK. A big week for the team.

The other big event this week was our first visit to the House of Lords as a team. Chris Ferguson (Deputy Director Identity Assurance) and I accompanied Francis Maude (Minister for Cabinet Office) and Nick Hurd (Minister for Civil Society) to meet a bunch of Lords, to explain the changes to the identity scheme and the whole market-making ethos behind it. Very interesting, not least because one of the Lords we met was a previous Home Secretary in the year of the ID card.

It was a very good debate; we were in there for some time. We got lost of course, as you do in those buildings, but it was great to go there. We bumped into Martha (Lane Fox), who was on day 3 in the Lords. It was a really exciting week for the team to go and be able to present to the Lords. We got a great response and many of them are coming back into the GDS to see how we’re going on with identity. So a good win and it’s getting us on the radar.

What is happening next week?

UK Export Finance moves onto GOV.UK, the 24th of our major central government departmental sites to move onto GOV.UK. It moves early next week. After that there will be a special announcement in the middle of next week to show 1 or 2 other assets moving in quite a high profile way. I can’t talk about that right now, but keep your eye on this blog in the middle of next week. Let’s celebrate GOV.UK being a central asset.

Then we reset and we’ve got 300 plus agencies to go in the next year. Next week let’s celebrate getting the major parts of central government onto one domain, something people said would “Never happen in a federated system.” It’s happened only, what, five months since GOV.UK launched? It’s a tremendous effort by every member of teams right across government.

And which direction are we going?

Onwards, I would say.

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