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What’s next for GOV.UK in 2021 to 2022

The 5 objectives for the year ahead are: 1. Always be available, accessible and accurate; 2. Support the government’s priorities of the day; 3. Connect insights across GOV.UK to enable joined-up service delivery; 4. Provide a personalised and proactive service; 5. Be channel agnostic.

At GOV.UK we have a clear vision for our work: we want to provide a trusted, joined-up and personalised service for our users. I’ve written about our plan before and work towards implementing it is already happening, as you can see in our 2020/21 GOV.UK roadmap.

We have 5 objectives for the year ahead that help us achieve our vision - all of them ensure that we continue to provide the service that people need and expect on GOV.UK.

1. Always be available, accessible and accurate

We support millions of visits every day. We cannot have issues with people struggling to reliably access information or services, or with questions relating to accuracy.

This is really important for trust, and is an absolute necessity given what GOV.UK does. This objective covers everything from our site resilience and security, to the continuous work to ensure that the content we (and the rest of government) publish is maintained and improved.

2. Support the government’s priorities of the day

GOV.UK must ensure that it is responsive to, and highlighting, the issues of the day for the user. Things like Brexit, coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Budget are examples of this.

GOV.UK is the digital interface between people and the government, and the authoritative source of what the government is saying and doing, and what it means for people day-to-day. This means it is imperative that GOV.UK works hard to communicate critical, and often changing, information.

3. Connect insights across GOV.UK to enable joined-up service delivery

This is so government understands its users, and users understand the government. It means we can design for whole user journeys, which move across departmental boundaries, rather than just iterating within our own organisations.

This is really important, given the user needs to join things up, and is an appropriate next stage in our digital maturity, as we start to work more actively across departmental (and service) boundaries. We’re doing this work with data privacy and security in the front of our minds - it’s about understanding aggregate trends and patterns.

4. Provide a personalised and proactive service

This means changing our operating model from one that is reactive and leaves the onus on the user, to one that appropriately uses data and permissions to provide a relevant and low-friction experience.

To achieve this, we’re advancing our work on the GOV.UK Account, and the development of even better notifications. We’re taking a privacy by design approach to our work, meaning we’re thinking about data privacy from the outset. We’re also coordinating closely with our digital identity colleagues at GDS as a critical partnership for this work.  

5. Be channel agnostic

GOV.UK isn’t just a website. Accessing information and completing services is increasingly happening via other channels - search engines, voice assistants and more. We need to design for a world not of flat HTML, but of structured information that can be accessed in multiple different ways. We’re working to be where the user is.

These 5 things are mutually reinforcing - it ensures we can be relied on, are relevant, and are being smart about the work that we are doing.

Some of the work we’re doing involves experiments and prototypes that we can deliver immediate value on, but which more critically tell us what the essential requirements of the objectives above must be. That’s why we’re working on a ‘starting and sustaining a business’ pilot, why we’re doing exploratory work around understanding all the criteria used to assess service eligibility on GOV.UK, and why we’re looking to better understand the data that services use across GOV.UK.

This kind of work, coupled with the longer delivery timeframes around the GOV.UK Account and our analytics development, means we are delivering iteratively, but when combined will permit 10 times more value to meeting user needs. We’re designing for a moving target, so we have to be ambitious!

All of the work we do in GOV.UK supports one or more of these objectives for the next 12 months. We’ll soon be publishing the first version of the 2021/2022 roadmap so you can see more of the details of the work we’re intending to do.

It’s a busy and exciting time on GOV.UK, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.

GOV.UK is and will be recruiting over the next financial year! See all job opportunities on GDS’s career page and read Inside GOV.UK to find out more about our work.

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  1. Comment by ren posted on

    3. Connect Insights across GOV.UK < the I of 'Insights' should not be capitalised in the top image.

    • Replies to ren>

      Comment by The GDS Team posted on

      Hi Ren,

      Thanks for sharing - it's a kerning issue, but we can assure you that is a lower-case i.

      The GDS Team

  2. Comment by Kenneth MacArthur posted on

    You mention GOV.UK Account multiple times, but you don't mention GOV.UK Verify once. We've all read the media coverage about GOV.UK Verify, but it would be helpful if you addressed it openly here. Is GOV.Verify sticking around, or, if not, what does the world look like with GOV.UK Account but without GOV.UK Verify?

    • Replies to Kenneth MacArthur>

      Comment by The GDS Team posted on

      Hi Kenneth,

      The GOV.UK Accounts Team is working closely with the digital identity programme as it develops the new cross government service - One Login for Government. Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, Julia Lopez MP, gave more details in her recent speech. In the meantime, GDS continues to run Verify for its services and users.

      GOV.UK Verify - and the future digital identity solution - aim to make it as simple as possible to prove who you are online when accessing government services. The GOV.UK Account provides the ability to personalise your experience when interacting with government, for instance by saving results or signing up for notifications. The GOV.UK Account will be underpinned by the digital identity service - so that we can ensure we’re providing the right things to the right people.

      We’ll be blogging more about GOV.UK Account and the role of digital identity soon.

      The GDS Team

  3. Comment by John Mortimer posted on

    Much of the complexity of government is characterised by complex support that we engage with citizens with. These interactions are often individual, the content changes, and what matters to the citizen and their particular situation is key.
    One of the greatest errors local government made when developing their Digital First agenda, was to hide the content phone number of their call handlers in the expectation that the demand could be handled online. We have now realised that such complex demands need human interaction.

    I was expecting the no. 5 channel agnostic to widen past Digital? How do you incorporate this type of demand into your joined up and personalised approach?

    • Replies to John Mortimer>

      Comment by The GDS Team posted on

      Hi John,

      This is a really important question, and it’s something we’re thinking about at GOV.UK. When we think about end to end service delivery we know that involves offline channels too. We’re thinking about complex service delivery areas in the round as part of our work on whole user journeys (see Objective 3). It’s also worth noting that it’s the departments that own the individual services have a responsibility to make sure there’s assisted digital support. You can find out more about this on the GOV.UK Service Manual.

      The GDS Team