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#Sprint19 live blog: 19 September 2019

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Thank you for joining us on the #Sprint19 live blog today and getting involved in the conversation on Twitter! We’re hoping the exchange of ideas continues beyond today as we continue to work to make government work better for everyone.


We’ve just heard from Alison Pritchard again, who spoke about the 2030 vision for government, which will be joined up, trusted and responsive to user needs. We will be blogging about this work in the coming weeks so make sure you sign up to our blog updates.

Alison then introduced a panel of 3 senior leaders from GDS, who shared the future vision of digital in government and how we will get there.

Tweet by KatOgilvie on 3:39 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
As an aside, empowering to see 4 women on stage discussing digital government 2030 #Sprint19 #womenintech @GDSTeam @alisonpritchard

Lisa Barrett, Director of Digital Identity at GDS, spoke first.

Tweet by GDSTeam on 4:13 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Director of Digital Identity, Lisa Barrett, takes to the #Sprint19 stage to share the future of identity assurance in government.

Lisa blogged about the future of digital identity earlier this year, and about what we've been doing to move forward our work on identity assurance.

Sue Bateman, GDS’s Deputy Director, Innovation and Policy, spoke about data, innovation and our work in the 2 areas.

Tweet by samoore on 3:54 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
I rather like this definition of innovation from Sue Bateman at #Sprint19: “a great idea to improve services for users” @GDSTeam

Jen Allum, Deputy Director and Head of GOV.UK, then spoke about the work we've been doing to deliver Brexit-related content and products, and the future of the GOV.UK programme. We will also be blogging about this work in the coming weeks so make sure you keep an eye on our blog.

Tweet by nunheadneil (tweet content below)
Really strong finish to #Sprint19. @Jen_Allum talking about the future of http://GOV.UK and how it will support a spectrum of user needs based on a consent model.
Tweet by timpaul (tweet content below)
Superb vision for http://GOV.UK from @Jen_Allum at #sprint19 - and yes, very happy to hear the Design System as part of it


The Head of Accessibility for UK Government, Richard Morton, is on stage now talking about the new public sector website accessibility regulations and what public sector organisations need to do to comply.

Tweet by accessibleweb (tweet content below)
Great to be at #Sprint19 and sharing why it's important to make government accessible for everyone. #AccessibilityRegulations
Tweet by MsLizzyBell on 3:14 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
This. People always forget this one. It’s been around FOR AGES #Sprint19


Behind the scenes at #Sprint19 – GDS staff have been working hard for months to make today's event happen.

Tweet by HollyColleen on 3:13 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
This is how #Sprint19 actually runs... on biscuits and fantastic leadership. Go @GDSTeam! #BehindtheScenes
Tweet by Tia_Priest on 2:46 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
There would be no #Sprint19 without these wonderful super humans! Thank you to all the organisers and volunteers that made today possible


Our delegates have just taken part in breakout sessions, which focused on: GDS common components, the GovTech Catalyst, the GOV.UK Design System, building digital capability, diversity and inclusion, and the service assessment process.

Tweet by egle_a_ieva on 2:18 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
@MonmouthshireCC completed stage 1 of the #govtechcatalyst and moved to stage 2! Their challenge? Tackle rural loneliness and transport deprivation. Working collaboratively with @GDSTeam and private sector they’re well on the way to solve this. #sprint19 #localgov #fixtheplumbing
Tweet by VeskoCh  (tweet content below)
@timpaul presenting at #Sprint19 the great work his team did building the http://GOV.UK Design System. We used the repo on a protype for @DurhamCouncil and @BlaenauGwentCBC. Fantastic tool! New Zealand's and other gov'ts adopting the kit too.

If you’re interested in any of the topics covered during the breakout sessions, you can read more about them on our blogs.

GOV.UK Design System

Our GDS colleagues recently blogged about how we made the GOV.UK Design System more accessible. We also had a guest post by a colleague from NHS Digital about how they adapted the GOV.UK Design System for use in their health and care services.

Diversity and inclusion

We blogged about using data to make the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Profession more diverse.

A data scientist from GDS blogged about his experience of taking shared parental leave.

And our 2 colleagues shared their story of starting the ‘Muslims at GDS’ community.

GovTech Catalyst

We published a 1-year-on blog post about the GovTech Catalyst programme to talk about what the team has learned and what’s coming up next.

Digital capability

People and skills, and building capability have featured a lot on our blogs recently.

We blogged about the first round of the Emerging Technology Development Programme.

We celebrated the GDS Academy’s 5th birthday and shared stories of how the Academy has impacted its students.

We also shared what our interns learned during their placements at GDS.

Common components

We’ve been blogging quite a lot about GOV.UK Verify. First, Lisa Barrett set out her vision for the programme. We also blogged about what we’re doing to keep GOV.UK Verify secure from identity crime and fraud. And we blogged about our work supporting the HMRC’s biggest Self Assessment peak, which was a very popular topic among our audiences.

We also blogged about the benefits of using GOV.UK Pay and what we’ve done to make it easier for smaller organisations to set it up.


We’ve heard a lot of interesting talks this morning.

During the lightning talks part of the morning, Aleks Bobrowska from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spoke about how the DWP Digital team are using and sharing data to tailor support for jobseekers in different regions.

Tweet by DWPDigital on 11:15 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Aleks Bobrowska, a data scientist from our Newcastle data hub, is doing a lightning talk today at #Sprint19 about the Examine a Place service. Read about some of her other work building the Skills Recommendation Engine last year

We also heard from Daniel Fyfield from the Department for Transport about the Blue Badge service, which helps you park closer to your destination if you have a disability, including a hidden one.

Tweet by egle_a_ieva on 12:13 PM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Lovely to hear from @fyfield_d about how DfT worked with #localgov to redesign the #bluebadge service for the users. It was the most complained about DfT service and it’s now it’s got 60% application completion rate and is projected to save £4.75 mil! #fixtheplumbing #sprint19

Next, Lyndsay Baker and Jon Sanger from GDS talked about how GOV.UK has worked with departments to prepare for EU Exit.

There was also a panel discussion – the topic was ‘strengthening digital partnerships across the UK’. The panellists were: Caron Alexander, Director of Digital Shared Services at the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Colin Cook, Director of Digital at Scottish Government, and Caren Fullerton, Chief Digital Officer at the Welsh Government.

discussion panel on the Sprint19 main stage

We’re now taking a break to have lunch and do some networking. Check back here in an hour for an update on what’s been happening in the #Sprint19 breakout sessions.


We’ve just heard from Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP.

He spoke about the progress we’ve made and the work we’ve done in the past year, including our work on the GovTech Catalyst, the publication of the Technology Innovation Strategy and the guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector, the impact GOV.UK Pay and GOV.UK Notify are having, our work on GOV.UK Verify and digital identity, and the role of the GDS Academy in upskilling civil servants to enable transformation.

Tweet by ian_tester at 11:03 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Super to hear the minister (rightfully) bigging up the first year of operating and learning from #GovTechCatalyst at #sprint19
Tweet by GDSTeam at 11:23 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Live from #Sprint19, Oliver Dowden, Paymaster General, Minister for the @cabinetofficeuk, “Digital identify allows us to take transformation of public services one step forward”.

He also spoke about the challenges lying ahead, and about how we can ensure that the pace of innovation and transformation continues.

Then, John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, introduced a showcase on digital collaboration across government.

 Tweet by simon_mckinnon at 11:12 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Hearing about sharing data and services across government as part of our ambitious digital transformation from John Manzoni at #Sprint19.

Come back to this blog after midday to read a summary of the lightning talks that are taking place now.


GDS’s Interim Director General Alison Pritchard has just welcomed everyone to #Sprint19.

⁦Tweet by robinknowles_ on 10:40 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
@alisonpritchard⁩ kicks off #Sprint19 Looking forward to seeing so many ⁦@DigiLeaders⁩ partners


While you’re waiting for our next update, you can read some recent blog posts about how digital transformation is improving people’s lives:

You can also watch our video to find out how Leeds City Council is using GovTech Catalyst funding to develop technology that can help improve the condition of social housing in the city.


Tweet by DianeTC1 on 9:37 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
On my way to #Sprint19 and excited to meet this team of Sprint Makers. @ipagov

Today’s main event is due to start at 10:30am with an opening address from GDS’s Interim Director General Alison Pritchard. A couple of weeks ago, Alison blogged about her journey in government so far and what she’s looking forward to delivering over the next few months.

Alison’s opening talk will be followed by a keynote from Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP.

Next, John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, will introduce a showcase on digital collaboration across government.

Our attendees will see how we’re making it easier for people to find work and live independent lives, and helping citizens and businesses prepare for the UK leaving the European Union.

Come back to this page later to see more updates on what’s happening at #Sprint19.


Sprint 19

#Sprint19 is about to begin – welcome to our live blog, which we will be updating throughout the day. Make sure you bookmark this page and come back to it to see what’s been happening.

Our delegates are already arriving and getting excited about the day. Here’s what they’ve been saying. You can join the conversation by using the hashtag #Sprint19. We’re tweeting at @GDSTeam.

Tweet by nadpavlova on 8:56 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
En route to @gdsteam's #Sprint19; @gatehousem & @cathfallon1 of @MonmouthshireCC and I will be discussing the #govtechcatalyst initiative this afternoon and how it brings innovation into the public sector.Join us and share the initiatives you're undertaking at your organisations.
Tweet by shazzcozz on 7:47 AM · Sep 19, 2019 (tweet content below)
Headed to @GDSTeam #Sprint19 today... what’s next for Digital Government? Excited to hear!!
Tweet by Kev_C_Murray (tweet content below)
On my way to the @GDSTeam #sprint19, really looking forward to hearing @fyfield_d tell everyone about the amazing Blue Badge service.

This year’s Sprint is different

Last year, we held one big Sprint event in London. This year, we changed things up a little bit. We’ve already run 4 regional events in addition to the one happening today. You can read our blog post to find out about what we learned from the regional events.

You can also watch our video to see the highlights from the 4 regional events:

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