Government is working hard on making services work better for their users. Over the past few years, hundreds of services went through user-centred digital transformation and now meet our Service Standard. Thousands of user-centred design specialists are working alongside digital, policy, and operations professionals to make services less complex, easier to understand, and simpler to use.
Services Week is the UK government’s annual event series to celebrate what we have achieved so far and take a look at the work ahead of us. We started Services Week in 2019 and it has been a huge success. Last year, 20 government organisations ran more than 55 sessions in 10 different locations across the country.
Services Week 2020 will take place from 3 to 7 February and gets people from all parts of government to discuss how we can work together to deliver end-to-end, user-focused services.
The User-Centred Design Communities team at GDS is providing some resources, support and a framework for the week, but the agenda and all the events are organised by colleagues from many government organisations, including arm’s length bodies and local authorities.
Join sessions in person or remotely
Over 60 events have been added to the open schedule so far. In South Gloucestershire, Dorset and Westminster, you can join service design drop-in sessions. In Cambridgeshire, you can attend a workshop on the importance of solving the right problem. In Manchester, you can learn about prototyping services with paper and code.
If you work in the public sector, take a look at the growing agenda and find a session in your area that interests you.
Service design training has been immensely popular since we started offering it 2 years ago. During Services Week, you can join the 1-day ‘Introduction to service design’ in Blackpool and Gateshead. In London, we will run the new ‘Service mapping masterclass’.
Not everyone has the opportunity to travel or attend a full-day workshop. So there will be even more remote formats offered this year. Throughout the week, there will be a number of live-streamed sessions, which you can watch and listen to wherever you are.
The week will kick off on Monday morning with streamed short talks and a panel discussion between design directors: Katy Arnold (Home Office), Lou Downe (Homes England), Lynne Roberts (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Matt Edgar (NHS Digital).
Every day at midday, you will be able to watch a case study via Zoom. These include Mat Johnson from NHS Digital talking about NHS 111 Online and Silvia Grant from the Environment Agency presenting about her work on the flood warning service.
Other remote sessions include a conversation on the future of user research and virtual 15-minute service design clinic sessions offered by the GDS design community. Services Week will wrap up on Friday, 7 February, in the afternoon, with a streamed open show and tell from GDS.
Why people are taking part
We asked some of the people organising events during Services Week 2020 what they are doing and why they are getting involved. Here is what they said:
Mark O’Connor – Service Designer, HM Revenue & Customs
The North East digital economy is one of the fastest growing in the UK, so we are gathering together public and private sector organisations from the region to share practices, training and ways of working – all related to providing users with good services.
Our focus for Services Week will be on how we are working across departmental boundaries and how we can improve collaboration in providing user centric services.
We have curated a rich diverse mix of sessions across the North East, from case studies and workshops, to training for service design and an introduction to agile ways of working.
Laura Stevens and Charlotte Downs – Creative content producers, GDS
We’re running a workshop to help people who have an idea for a blog post, but aren’t quite sure how to make it a reality.
Writing a blog post about your work helps to share knowledge and ways of working, shows your organisational culture, and connects you to other public servants. Participants will come away with the confidence to write a clearly structured blog post that answers their user needs.
Participants will write a structure for their blog post, think about different audiences, evaluate other attendees’ ideas and learn how blogging helps government.
With a new Services in government blog created, and the popular Design in government blog, as well as individual organisation blogs, there’s lots of opportunity for blogging to happen for anyone involved in services.
There’s still time to propose your own event for Services Week 2020. We have suggestions for formats you can run. You can add your event to the open agenda and promote it using the editable poster template. You can also print our prepared posters to let your colleagues know about what’s happening.
And wherever you are, you can use and follow the hashtag #ServicesWeek on social media to share your experience and follow others.