https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2017/01/17/service-toolkit-everything-you-need-to-build-a-service-in-one-place/

Service Toolkit: everything you need to build a service in one place

Service Toolkit page

We’ve just launched the new Service Toolkit. It’s a single page that brings together all the things that are available to help teams building government services.

We recently published the latest iteration of the Service Manual to give teams guidance on how to build great services. Now we’ve launched the Service Toolkit to give them quick access to the resources they need.

User research

We carried out user research with people who use GDS resources and identified these high-level needs:

  • people building government services need to find guidance easily and know that it’s up to date so they build a service to the current Digital Service Standard  
  • they need their work to be consistent with other UK public services so that users trust the service and are familiar with how it works
  • they need to find out the best way to solve a problem and not waste time duplicating work someone else has already done

There are resources available that can help with this. But that won't help unless service teams know about them.

As one user told us: “I would like a much more simple way of understanding what things GDS has that can be used for my services.”

Having one page that hosts all these resources is a very simple way of doing this.

Building with the Government as a Platform principle

The Service Toolkit currently features links to:

All these resources have been built so that they can be used again and again and follow the Government as a Platform principles, which include meeting a common need and making things easy for the user.

Resources that reflect the Government as a Platform principles are not only provided by GDS, so over time the toolkit will expand to include contributions from the rest of government.

We’re developing ways for people to contribute to the resources in the Service Toolkit. For example, we already create content in the Service Manual in collaboration with cross-government communities. And we’re looking at setting up a model for collecting design systems across government.

Where there are contributed resources, we will ensure that they go through a rigorous assurance process so that users can rely on them.

Developing links

Building a single page to host all of these resources is only part of the work we’re doing. We also need to ensure that people know about the new Service Toolkit and can access it easily.

We know that most people currently go directly to the tool or component that they need to use. So as much as possible we’re linking back from these resources to the Service Toolkit. For example we’ll be introducing breadcrumbs on product pages that link back to the toolkit.

We’re also developing a set of new product pages. This will give service teams a consistent experience when they want to find out more about the different tools and components available to them. We’re rolling this out across the resources, starting with Notify.

The Service Toolkit will be a fundamental part of all digital training – such as service manager training – so that everyone who needs to use it is aware of it.

Improving the page

We’ve developed the Service Toolkit based on user research, but there are a few questions we can only answer with further feedback.

For example, we need to make sure that the page’s purpose and proposition is immediately clear to users. And we need to make sure our content is structured in the best way.

So we will iterate the toolkit based on what our users tell us.

We’d love to know what you think about it. Please let us know by commenting on this post or using the ‘Is there anything wrong with this page?’ link at the bottom of the Service Toolkit page.

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9 comments

  1. Alex Coomer

    I like the new toolkit, it's both useful and easy to navigate. It's already enabled me to discover existing content more easily, for example, the performance framework, which contains some nice expandable examples on things like KPI's.

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  2. Graham Jenkins

    Yes it's good to pull this together in one place. But it does rather highlight the duplication between the Principles, the Standard, and the Code of Practice. Can't they be merged?

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    • Elena Findley-de Regt

      Thanks for your comment, Graham. I'm GDS's managing editor - here's the relationship between the documents.

      The Technology Code of Practice, Digital Service Standard and the Design Principles all serve different purposes and are used in different ways.

      The Technology Code of Practice sets the standard on the best way for government organisations to design, build and buy technology. All government technology services that need Cabinet Office approval are measured against this standard.

      The Digital Service Standard is used by GDS and departments to check whether a service is good enough for public use. Meeting the Service Standard is mandatory for all new transactional services across government.

      The GDS Design Principles set out our organisational values. They explain how we approach our work and guide everything we do.

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  3. Richard Edwards

    There's been a few blogs recently on Service Patterns. Are these resources going to be gathered and linked to from the Service Toolkit in the future?

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    • Tim Paul

      Hi Richard, yes, we will be publishing these patterns in the future and they’ll be available from the Service Toolkit.

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  4. Alice Goldman

    Is there a risk that people can use these things to create fraudulent gov.uk-style pages or apps? How do you mitigate it?

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    • GDS team

      Hi Alice
      Thanks for your comment.
      Yes there is a risk, but that risk exists in the same way that it does for any published webpage – it’s possible to view and copy the code from any webpage.
      We mitigate this risk by actively taking down misleading websites, and encouraging members of the public to report sites that look like GOV.UK that aren’t on the domain: https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

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  5. Jon Lemmon

    I've noticed the new Service Manual has taken emphasis off of the delivery phases, and it also no longer has guides sorted by role (e.g. Service Manager, Designer, Developer).

    Can you explain the reasons behind these decisions? We're working on a similar site for the New Zealand govt, so it'd be great to hear your latest thoughts. 🙂

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  6. Peter Jordan

    Great to see progress on bringing stuff together; but I'd like to work with you to enhance the content on using data analysis throughout the product lifecycle to improve things.

    It's much more than a dashboard on the performance platform.

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