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10 May 2018: Sprint 18 live blog

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


Thank you for joining us on the live blog today and contributing to the discussions on Twitter (#Sprint18)! We’re hoping the conversations continue beyond today.

Did you find the content of this live blog useful? Let us know in the comments below!


Robyn Scott speaking at Sprint 18

Robyn Scott, Co-founder and CEO of Apolitical is on stage now talking about what the UK can learn from other governments to remain a global leader in digital.

Tweet by gdsteam on 12:06 PM · May 8, 2018 (tweet content below)
Excited to be hearing from @RobynScott, Co-Founder and CEO @apoliticalco at #Sprint18 on Thursday.


Here are some highlights from this afternoon:

The Digital Marketplace workshop at Sprint 18.
The Digital Marketplace workshop at Sprint 18.
The innovation showcase at Sprint 18.
The innovation showcase at Sprint 18.
Tweet by JennyMulholland on 3:56 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Excited to be part of #Sprint18 with @gdsteam & other DDaTers from across government - focusing on innovation, collaboration and transformation - new techs, data science, people & skills, tackling (global) public service challenges through innovative tech & digital-led approaches.
Tweet by gdsteam on 3:55 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Our panel discussion: Building a Global Digital Marketplace, chaired by @jacquitaylorfb and ft. @RowanEConway, @surrey2usa and @wdangersmith is now underway at #Sprint18.
Tweet by jbuller (tweet content below)
Posters about accessibility by @HODigital referenced in my talk at #Sprint18 can be printed at… Tell us how and where you use them.


How can the UK help other governments improve transparency by opening up procurement and contracting, and at the same time create global opportunities for UK suppliers?

It’s time for a panel debate featuring colleagues from GDS, the British High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, and the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management.

You can find out more about Global Digital Marketplace from our blog post about it.


More machine learning on show at #Sprint18!

Tweet by maltbyps (tweet content below)
More machine learning on show at #Sprint18, this time from the awesome @nickyzachariou creating automatic tags and better structure for content
Tweet by jonoellis (tweet content below)
Skipping years of work by using natural language processing to create a new content taxonomy for http://GOV.UK #DataScience #Sprint18
Tweet by tomjbates (tweet content below)
Impressive work from http://GOV.UK to make content work for voice assistants! #Sprint18


We’re now hearing from Neil Williams, Head of GOV.UK, and Nicky Zachariou, Data Scientist at GDS, about the future of GOV.UK. They’re talking about how GOV.UK is using supervised deep learning to ensure its content can be understood by machines as well as humans.

Tweet by jaCattell on 3:21 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
This 🙂 HT @neillyneil. #Sprint18

They’re also revealing new ways to interact with GOV.UK. If you’d like to find out more, make sure you’re subscribed to the Inside GOV.UK blog.


Our colleagues from the UK Hydrographic Office are now on stage talking about automatically detecting previously unknown shipping hazards.

Tweet by TerryMakewell on 3:13 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
A proper demonstrated of innovation at #sprint18 with Kari Dempsey & Cate Seale talking about how @UKHO_Online are using #machinelearning to identify oil rigs, ships and windfarms. Developed thanks to help from @gdsteam and @DataSciCampus Data Science Accelerator Programme.


The innovation showcase is about to begin!

First, we’re going to hear from Graham Walker, Deputy Director for Innovation at GDS, and Holly Ellis, Director of Capability at GDS.

They’ll be talking about the first round of GovTech challenges and show practical uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our delegates will see how digital continues to disrupt and revolutionise service delivery, and how government is harnessing the potential of emerging technology.


Kevin Cunnington, Director General at GDS, and Lara Sampson, Product Director at the Department for Work and Pensions, are on stage now.

Kevin is taking questions about GDS’s recent work and its upcoming priorities.

Tweet by gdsteam on 2:39 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
We're back on stage at #Sprint18 with @kevincunnington who is sharing some our proudest achievements from the past year.


Here’s what people have been saying on Twitter about #Sprint18:

Tweet by Dan__Harper on 2:23 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Didn't expect to be blinking back tears in an #openstandards workshop. Hugely hard-hitting story from @TowerRNLI about how police interoperability cut response times and saved lives. Focus on the users, not the tech #Sprint18
Tweet by jaCattell on 2:31 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
#GovSelfie with the awesome @Natalie_Events, mastermind of #Sprint18. If you need an event organising, Natalie's your person (-:
Tweet by gdsteam on 2:17 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Our workshop attendees busy finding out what's next for @GOVUK. This is what collaboration looks like. #Sprint18.
Tweet from FCOtravel (tweet content below)
.@foreignoffice is transforming vital services for British nationals overseas, including applying online for emergency travel documents. #Sprint18 #TravelAware
Tweet by jmunsonuk (tweet content below)
#DVSAdigital is the first agency to be using @gdsteam step-by-step navigation approach to completing services. Used as a case study at #Sprint18. @johnploughman talking about #learningtodrive. Used 1 million times in first 6 months since live on


Tweet by gdsteam on 2:00 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
In case you missed his speech at #Sprint18, we caught up with Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation, on the #GovTechCatalyst challenges he launched today:


Registers are accurate and consistent live sets of data.

In this workshop session, participants are hearing about practical tips and examples of how to find and build with data. They’re also learning about how to make sure their data is good enough to support their service as it grows and adapts to meet changing needs and applications.

You can read more about our work on registers in this blog post update from Government as a Platform Programme Director at GDS, Ashley Stephens.


Our people and skills workshop participants are now learning about how we’re delivering the government’s ambition to have one of the most digitally skilled population of civil servants in the world.

This workshop is led by colleagues from GDS, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the WPP Government and Public Sector Practice.

Two People and skills workshop presenters at Sprint 18, standing at a lectern, one of them speaking

Digital skills are something Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has blogged about on the DCMS blog.

You can also read more about the work we’re doing across government to build capability in the Digital, Data and Technology profession on the Digital People blog.

Tweet by TerryMakewell on 1:35 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Great question about what can we do to upskill ministers and MPs on digital. The @GDSacademy are working with ministers to help then better understand newer ways of working and what digital can do for the citizen - @HollyAEllis #Sprint18


The Digital Marketplace is helping the public sector buy what it needs to deliver great digital services.

Those attending our Digital Marketplace workshop are now learning from Crown Commercial Service and GDS, who run the service, about how they’re supporting buyers to procure services that transform government.

A room full of people listening to 3 presenters standing on the stage

We recently blogged about a project we’re working on called Global Digital Marketplace. As the name suggests, it’s an expansion of the Digital Marketplace that will be open to international governments. And it means UK suppliers will have access to the global market.


Presenter speaking, front row of people shown

Making things accessible means removing barriers. It means thinking about the range of human capability and designing for everyone.

Those attending the accessibility workshop, hosted by the Home Office and GDS, are learning about how making things accessible makes them better for all of us and how simple approaches can improve accessibility.

We recently published a great round-up of articles about accessibility so make sure you take a look.

Our blog post about the dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility is one of our most popular ever.

And, our colleagues from the Home Office have also blogged about how they work together to achieve accessibility.

Tweet by gatehousem (tweet content below)
I'm at a #Sprint18 Workshop about improving the accessibility of services through digital. Some useful resources at
Tweet by katyarnie on 2:01 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Brilliant to see @jbuller representing @HODigital so well - “we should always be asking ‘is this accessible?’ Be it an email, or a meeting, or whatever - and if it’s not, ask ‘why not?’ “ #Sprint18


Here’s what’s happened at #Sprint18 so far:

Tweet by HMLandRegistry on 12:06 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
‘Transformation not just about #digital. It’s about making services better for users’ @LouiseDowne #sprint18
Tweet by gdsteam on 9:59 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
A brilliant lineup of market stalls to visit at #Sprint18 today where you can find valuable information from colleagues across government. Stickers and sweets included!
Tweet by J3nnyKH on 1:05 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
mum, i’m famous! #sprint18
Tweet by mattedgar on 12:13 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
No longer the Digital Service Standard - this is a standard for the whole of government. Great work, @LouiseDowne and all making the change happen #Sprint18
Tweet by JaneOLoughlin on 11:41 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
We asked ‘which women have inspired you at #sprint18 #womenintech answers include @annashipman @Marthalanefox @hadleybeeman @Dr_Black @emercoleman
Tweet by jessicalakevoy on 12:01 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
for @ShaunEwings from @landregistry who along with @GOVUKverify has been doing the hard work to make it easy for users to remortgage online in a few clicks #sprint18
Tweet by gdsteam on 12:27 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
It's been a busy start to #Sprint18. Shout out to all of our Sprint Makers for a smooth opening, and for rocking our Sprint-branded tees so effortlessly.


The unit of delivery is the team

GDS has achieved a lot since we were set up. Read our story to see the highlights of our work from each year from 2010 to 2017.

We're looking forward to more #Sprint18 action after lunch!


Finally, effective services don’t just reply on common components – they need to share common designs and standards. We are enabling government to move beyond digitisation, to transform end-to-end services at scale. Lou Downe, Head of Service Design and Standards at GDS, is on stage now.

Tweet by MalcolmStirling on 12:03 PM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Lou Downe explains how GDS brings scaleability and sustainability to service design #Sprint18

You can read more about end-to-end service design and things we’re doing in 2018 to transform services on the GDS blog.

11: 56

The transformation showcase continues. Colleagues from the Department of Work and Pensions are talking about their ongoing work to ‘go digital’ with the state pension and make it easier for citizens to find out information on their current and likely future entitlement.

A graphic: 'Digital take-up in April 2018 was 95% for state pension forecast checks'


Shaun Ewings speaking at Sprint 18

Shaun Ewings from HM Land Registry is on stage now speaking about their digital mortgage service – explaining how you will be able to sign mortgage deeds online as the service moves closer to public beta.

You can read about the digital mortgage service on HM Land Registry’s blog, including about how it makes use of GOV.UK Verify.


It’s transformation showcase time!

Tweet by gdsteam on 11:24 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
We now have @CzapiewskiLaura and @tillwirth explaining how we're making it easier for citizens to go abroad - and support them when things don’t go to plan. #Sprint18


John Manzoni speaking at Sprint 18, standing on the stage, people in the auditorium visible in the shadow

Chief Executive of the Civil Service John Manzoni is now speaking about how the Government Transformation Strategy and Government as a Platform (GaaP) have made it easier to transform services. As a result, digitised public services now support people at the most important points in their lives.


Oliver Dowden is announcing the first challenges to benefit from the GovTech Catalyst fund. Here are some reactions:

Tweet by jaCattell on 11:02 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
We won 🙂 @DefraGovUK has won a slice of the GovTech Catalyst £20 million fund. It's just been announced at #Sprint18. Naturally I whistled and waved my arms about. We were also the 1st bid to be announced. #excted 🙂 cc @greentrac @myra @BassisBetsy @ClareMoriarty
Tweet by maltbyps on 11:01 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
.@MonmouthshireCC successful in being one of the govtech challenge funds announced today on using transport to address loneliness #Sprint18
Tweet by DigiLeaders (tweet content below)
Today the gov has announced a £20m fund to encourage tech firms to come up with innovative solutions to everyday social issues. Sign up to the @gdsteam #govtech meetups here: More here: #Sprint18 #govtechcatalyst #digileaders
Tweet by maltbyps on 11:07 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Blenau-Gwent council and @DurhamCouncil also winners of the govtech challenge fund to better use and monitor council vehicles #Sprint18


Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for Implementation, is on stage now.

Tweet by gdsteam on 10:58 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation, is announcing the first challenges to benefit from the #GovTechCatalyst fund at #Sprint18.


Trisha Doyle, Head of Content Design at GDS, has just welcomed everyone to #Sprint18.

Tweet by tjrdoyle on 10:53 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
I did say it was going to be a bad selfie #sprint18


The Women in Tech stall at Sprint!

Tweet by JaneOLoughlin on 10:21 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Our #WomenInTech stall at #Sprint18


Sprint attendee at the registration desk

While you’re waiting for us to start live blogging the event, why don’t you read our recent blog posts about the work we’re doing at GDS to help government work better for everyone?


Here’s what we’re looking forward to today:


The main event is due to start at 10:40 with a keynote speech from Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for Implementation.

Then, we’ve got colleagues from Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Land Registry, the Department for Work and Pensions, and GDS talking about their progress to transform services by putting citizens at the heart of them. We’re also going to hear from Chief Executive of the Civil Service John Manzoni.

Make sure you bookmark this page and keep checking back for highlights, quotes, photos, videos and links to interesting content related to the topics we discuss at today’s event.


Our attendees are arriving and getting excited about the day. Here’s what they’ve been tweeting. Make sure you join the conversation as well (#Sprint18) and say hi – we’re tweeting at @gdsteam.

Tweet by ShaunEwings on 9:36 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
The first time I’ve been to a Sprint today and excited to be talking about @HMLandRegistry’s Sign Your Mortgage Deed service #Sprint18
Tweet by tjrdoyle on 9:36 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
It’s my very first Sprint today AND I get to MC it. Delighted to be repping @gdsteam @GOVUK and of course the amazing #govcontent community #Sprint18 #prepareforsomebadjokes
Tweet by katyarnie on 8:32 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
On my way to #Sprint18 today and looking forward to being refreshed and inspired! The @jbuller and @dugboticus talk on accessibilty should be awesome!
Tweet by JonPLawrence on 7:56 AM · May 10, 2018 (tweet content below)
Excited to be heading to #sprint18 today. Realised earlier what an inspiration and influence Sprint15 (only other one I’ve been to) was for me. Can’t wait to see what today brings!


Sprint 18 badges

#Sprint18 is about to begin – welcome to our live blog!

But what is Sprint? It’s our flagship event to celebrate all the great work that has been done so far to transform government – and to look at what we’ll be doing next.

Our Director General, Kevin Cunnington, blogged about Sprint a few weeks ago. And so did the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood. We also have a highlights video from 2016 if you want to know more about Sprint:

We’ll be live blogging throughout the day, sharing quotes and pictures from the event, and links you may find useful. Make sure you bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates.

We’re also tweeting using the hashtag #Sprint18 so please do join in the conversation! Feel free to leave comments below as well!

Did you find the content of this live blog useful? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Comment by Guy Wolfenden posted on

    really helpful summary of the day- with some cross government that we had missed elsewhere- thanks GDS