Skip to main content

Preparing for Government as a Platform

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital Service Platforms

GaaP team

Back in March, just before the pre-election period began and, like the rest of the Civil Service, we had to keep quiet for a while, Mike Bracken wrote this post.

He talked about the next stage of digital transformation - government as a platform:

We’re working with departments to unpick what platforms will have the most impact, both for users and in terms of the cost to government. In particular we're looking at how we'd start building high-priority platforms, how to speed up the roll out of better technology for civil servants, and what platform services could do to improve the way departments and agencies work. We’re also starting to build prototypes.

Today, I want to tell you about the work we've been doing to put all that talk into action.

Preparation work

You've probably heard that old saying: "measure twice, cut once." Anyone who's ever done a bodge job of putting up a shelf in the kitchen knows exactly what I mean. Before you start doing a piece of work, it makes sense to get the preparation done right.

That's what this work is all about: preparation. We're laying the groundwork for government as a platform, making sure we have an excellent understanding of what's needed, where, and to what extent.

This work is divided into four streams:

  1. Common Technology Services - We’ve been working with departments to understand how to give civil servants modern, flexible technology that helps them collaborate and do their jobs more efficiently - but at a much lower cost than before.
  2. Platforms and standards - the bedrock for government as a platform. We've started work on prototype platforms and registers that could be re-used across government. We're learning by doing, and writing a business case for Treasury that will help us expand this work much further.
  3. Agency transformation - finding out how we can help government agencies use digital technology to reduce duplicated effort and build better services.
  4. Department transformation - finding out how we can make the structure of government even more invisible to users. When a task requires the user to deal with several different departments, how can we break down those invisible barriers and make the whole thing easier? How can we make things better for users and for the teams running the services?

Within each workstream, there are several project teams working on different prototypes.

Showing the thing

We have a rule here, which you’ve probably heard us mention before: show the thing. It means show your work. Don’t just talk about new services, show them to people with screenshots or demos or alphas.

I'm not going to list all the prototype and discovery projects here, because there’s a lot of them.

But you’ll have a chance to find out about all of them in the coming weeks. Each team will be showing the thing, writing posts on this blog to document what they’re working on and what they’ve learned so far.

Follow Felicity on Twitter, and don't forget to sign up for email alerts.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

1 comment

  1. Comment by Ivan Harris posted on

    Nice update/teaser, thanks. Really looking forward to the "Platform and Standards" 'Thing' being shown. How much of the platform will GDS build versus establishing standards against which the open market can compete? Following with interest!