https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/06/07/this-week-at-gds-33/

This week at GDS

Highlights: Savings of £10bn were announced by the Efficiency and Reform Group this week - the part of the Cabinet Office in which GDS sits. Technology and GOV.UK have made a big contribution to that figure. We also announced the move this week of the G-Cloud team into GDS, and we're looking forward to developing the front end of those services for suppliers to government. Service manager training has been continuing, as has development of the 25 exemplar transactional services, spread out across the UK. DFID have launched a new beta platform using open data to track overseas development expenditure. Next week we're looking forward to a major improvement in the way search works on GOV.UK - we'll write more about that when it's released.

(Full transcript below)

Interviewer:
Hello, Mike. What have you been up to at GDS this week?

Mike Bracken:
I'm very well, Matt, yourself?

Interviewer:
I'm very well. What have we been up to at GDS this week?

Mike:
We've been announcing lots of savings. The Efficiency and Reform Group, the part of the Cabinet office in which the GDS sits, has announced its savings on Monday. Francis Maude led the presentation and it’s £10 billion, an astonishing amount of money to save in one year.
I'm very happy to say that we have been a big part of that for IT and for GDS; we've saved over £500 million of that amount of money. That's come from stopping stuff, doing stuff differently, GOV.UK, doing a lot of work on platforms. Particular shout this week on that goes to Seb Tallents, Alex Holmes - the gang in Liam Maxwell's team - because they've driven a lot of those savings out of the last year. It's hard work and thankless, but it's a great announcement.
The other big thing this week is the move of G-Cloud into the GDS. I should really give a huge amount of thanks to Denise McDonagh and Chris Chant, who actually preceded me. They're the real sponsors of that programme when it was unloved around Government, and they've really driven the development of cloud-based procurement. We hope now to really crack on and develop the front end of that and develop the service for all suppliers out there.

Interviewer:
Excellent. We've had a few visitors as well.

Mike:
We have and we’re training service managers. It's one of the most fundamental things that we have to do, is to get service managers empowered and trained right across government. Matt Edgar and Sheila Bennett are leading that on our behalf. We've had the first cohort of those in this week and we'll have lots more to be done in the next few months.

Interviewer:
Service managers are a big part of the exemplar programme as well.

Mike:
Yes, we have 25 exemplars, remember; 25 of the largest 50 public services are going to be transformed end-to-end in the next 18 months. They're happening all over the UK, in DVLA in Swansea, in Student Loans in Glasgow, in Newcastle, in Preston, and in Reading, and all these places.
In those places, we've got to get service managers who understand that discipline of digital product creation and service management, and really get them trained and empowered. That's what we're doing now and it's great fun to link them up.

Interviewer:
Excellent. We've also been seeing some good work from people already out there doing the work of transforming services.

Mike:
Yes, blazing a trail as usual, DFID, with the aid platform - went into beta this week. John Adams up there and the team doing extraordinarily good work in bringing that open data approach to our platform, so terrific stuff.

Interviewer:
We've got a few releases next week at GDS as well.

Mike:
One or two, and the biggest one by some distance is Search. We've been working on this for some time; Search is one of those things that always polarises opinion. We know that it can be improved; it's the single biggest thing that we all want to improve on GOV.UK, based on a lot of user testing, a lot of data. We should see a real step change in our search provision the middle of next week.

Interviewer:
We've also got to bid a fond farewell to a few folks as well.

Mike:
We have, Paul Annett, one of the first few people through the door, when we were in a little room in south London, doing the discovery for an alpha for what became GOV.UK. Paul’s leaving us to join Twitter, and you can't get a better send-off than that; it's just a testament to the quality that we've got here.
We should also welcome Kim Townend, who's going to be leading on social media with us, a really big name in that field. She starts next week as well, so as one leaves one comes in, but it's great that we have this level of talent in the Government Digital Service.

Interviewer:
Fabulous; until next time.

Mike:
Onwards.