GDS is approaching its fifth birthday. It’s grown from a small organisation that delivered the prototype of GOV.UK in 12 weeks to one with responsibility for a number of transformation programmes, services, and standards. And it will continue to grow through the £450m investment government is making to help departments transform government.
Growth will always bring issues as organisations try to scale in a sustainable way, particularly when an organisation grows at the rate we have. Even without rapid growth, any large organisation will have issues and things it needs to improve. What’s important is that running any organisation shouldn’t be any different from building and running great public services. You always start with user needs, and then iterate, and iterate again.
How we’re improving
We’re aiming to bring together how we apply a digital way of thinking and our own design principles to make GDS a better place to work. The People Board have already taken the data from our most recent Civil Service People Survey and ran a number of workshops and one on one conversations to prioritise the areas for improvement.
- making it easier to know who does what, so work has clear ownership and it’s clearer how to get things done
- improving performance management so it provides an opportunity for feedback on progress towards personal development goals
- developing a stronger career offer, making it easier for individuals to develop within the organisation through visibility and fair access to different roles
This is in addition to some other changes we’re currently testing., For example, we’re expanding the role communities of practice have within the organisation and delegating more responsibility and operational decisions to teams.
We want GDS to be a great place to work and an exemplar organisation for the rest of the Civil Service. We’re not there yet but I hope that by sharing our learning (and mistakes) we’ll help other parts of the Civil Service improve too.