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Service Manual preparing for beta

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Service design manual screenshot

The new Government Service Design Manual recently passed an alpha assessment. Special thanks go to Holly Garrett who led the team from the beginning through to the alpha assessment. Holly’s now moved on and Tom Scott is the new product manager.

What we learned from our alpha

The alpha assessment report highlights some of the things we’ve learned and decisions we’ve made since we blogged about our discovery phase.

Here’s the most important ones:

  1. we’re building the new service manual on GOV.UK. We chose this because being on the GOV.UK platform provided the tech support model we wanted, offered a technical development roadmap that we can benefit from. The service manual is also within proposition for GOV.UK, since we learned from our discovery that expert community discussions about contributions could appropriately be hosted off of the service manual itself
  2. the new service manual has a narrowly defined proposition for the minimum viable product: “the service manual provides guidance for teams creating government digital services. It’s designed to help teams meet the Digital Service Standard and pass their service assessments.” We’re only including information necessary for building good services and we’re linking to information that’s more broadly useful
  3. the new service manual will not be updated on a volunteer basis: it’s going to have a permanent team proactively updating it. To lead this GDS appointed a managing editor responsible for the whole organisation’s content. Elena Findley-de Regt took the role in November.
  4. the communities are pretty different from each other. We started writing content in October, asking the GDS community leads to nominate the most appropriate experts within their community for us to work with. We’re still looking at the best ways to include the experience and expertise of the cross-government community

What’s next

We’ll be launching some new content early next year. Redirecting sections of the current service manual to ensure saved links and bookmarks don’t break. We’ll be exploring navigation patterns in greater detail. We already know we need to tag content in a meaningful way. We'll be able to take advantage of future developments of the GOV.UK publishing platform. Helping everyone find content they want.

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  1. Comment by Mark Winspear posted on


    We are currently replacing our old non-functional requirements catalogue to make identifying anything non-functional less onerous for agile teams. Are there any big changes to content planned, or are we 'safe' to use the existing manual for now?

    • Replies to Mark Winspear>

      Comment by Tom Scott posted on

      Hi Mark

      Much of the current service manual is still relevant and useful. We are working to improve that content and remove information that is no longer accurate. We are not making changes to the Digital Service Standard, but we are making it easier to see where the points are linked to the guidance.

      Hope that helps, thanks.

      • Replies to Tom Scott>

        Comment by Mark Winspear posted on

  2. Comment by Ben posted on

    Its is very nice to see more upgrades on gov's net frameworking. Im glad to be british, and have such progressive people in government... Now is searching for more info about universal credit, housing benefits, working tax credits history, and sadly its only a few info on
    Some enthusiasts work for this, for example this page -
    It seems very nice to see people doing citizen duty by themself.
    Hope support will not delete this, and then upload more info about UC reform to this blog.

    • Replies to Ben>

      Comment by Carrie Barclay posted on

      Hi Ben

      Thank you for your input. We can't vouch for the accuracy of third party information sources, and would recommend that anyone looking for information about Universal Credit visit the official GOV.UK page:

      Thanks again, have a lovely day.