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Transforming government services

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Sprint, Transformation

For the last six months GDS has been helping government transform public services, making them so good that people prefer to use them. Yesterday, at Sprint Alpha, we gave our first progress report to Ministers, Civil Service leaders and more than 300 civil servants working on digital services.

The transformation programme

In January 2013 we started working with colleagues across government to transform public services. We face a generational change in making all our 650+ transactions digital by default. It's something we can't do in one go, so we helped eight of the biggest transactional departments to select 25 'exemplar' services. These first appeared in the departmental digital strategies last December. Delivering the exemplars to become live services is the work of the transformation programme.

25 logo

By 'transformation' we don't mean making websites. We mean everything: examining the whole business process involved in a transaction to make it consistent, high-quality and digital by default. This approach came about after spending a lot of time working with departments on pilot projects in 2012, and I mentioned some of the methods in a blog post last summer. This helped us understand how best to work collaboratively with departments and agencies, whilst driving a quick and efficient approach to transformation.

The first phase of that has been Discovery, in which we find out exactly what those processes are, what's involved in them, the underlying technology, what legislation might exist around it and, most important of all, who its users are.

Learning from Discovery

Departments have been incredibly open to new ways of working, developing agile skills and transforming how services function. The limited capability of some departments has definitely been a challenge, but many are working hard to get more knowledge and skills into teams.

Where departments are finding new problems (and new solutions) they’ve helped us to learn too. We’re starting to incorporate that guidance into the service manual, alongside mailing lists and meet-ups for those involved in making services.

Now, as these transformations get under way, GDS will start to focus on wider business change: embedding digital capability within the local teams that support the services. While the services we’re working on will have a measurable impact on users, it’s a fraction of the number of services that will be built over the next few years, so we want to make sure that all of the things we learn are available to help departments build their own capability and deliver world-class services.

Transforming services in public

As Mike mentioned yesterday, you can read detailed updates about each of the services at You can also read information about each of our exemplars:

  1. Electoral registration
  2. Apprenticeship applications
  3. Redundancy payments
  4. Patent renewals
  5. Property register
  6. Student finance
  7. Waste carrier registration
  8. Rural support (Common Agricultural Policy)
  9. View driving record
  10. Personalised registrations
  11. Vehicle management
  12. Claim Carer's Allowance
  13. Claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  14. Universal Credit
  15. PAYE for employees
  16. Digital self-assessment
  17. Business tax dashboard
  18. Agent online self-serve
  19. Registered traveller
  20. Criminal record check
  21. Visit visa applications
  22. Civil claims
  23. Employment tribunal fee payment
  24. Prison visit booking
  25. Lasting power of attorney

The launch of SLC's 24+ service, and the public beta of OPG's lasting power of attorney application are some of the earliest parts of the programme to get public use, but there's much much more to come.

Along with this blog and our transformation updates you’ll also be able to read updates from the likes of MOJ's Digital Services Division and DVLA's Digital Services team. It'll offer a high-level, public overview of where we're at, show you what’s currently in production and any data about service performance.

Over the next few days, we'll share more from the programme. In the meantime, take a look at the transformation programme updates to see more.

Sharing and comments

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  1. Comment by Ahmed posted on


    Sounds great, excellent effort and wish you good luck,, may I know why GDS took the lead to transform the services rather than Agency ? and can you share me with any business cases and how you prioritize the 25 services out of 650

  2. Comment by A digital sprint | Bob Kerslake posted on

    […] I hosted a Permanent Secretary panel discussion at the Government Digital Service’s Sprint Alpha event to debate digital transformation with the senior leadership of the Civil […]

  3. Comment by Benjamin Rusholme (@benrusholme) posted on

    Impressive indeed, this will be an especially notable transformation.

  4. Comment by Week notes #12 | Dafydd Vaughan posted on

    […] was the biggest feature of the week with our Sprint Alpha event. It was a chance to show off everything that GDS has been doing with transactions across […]

  5. Comment by Tony Stewart (@VMADigital) posted on

    Great stuff guys - really impressive work!

  6. Comment by Jan Kowalski posted on

    It says that embedding this video on websites has been turned off on demand, so why have you placed it here then? 🙂

    Good work BTW

    • Replies to Jan Kowalski>

      Comment by Matt Sheret posted on

      Apologies Jan. It's been switched on now.

  7. Comment by Transforming government services – Government Digital Service | Public Sector Blogs posted on

    […] Original source – Government Digital Service […]