Hi there! I joined GDS back in December 2022 and I’m really pleased to be writing my first blog post. I came to GDS because both the organisation and I share a passion for driving positive impact for citizens and I’m so happy to have seen so much evidence of that happening here in the last 6 months.
I’m responsible for GDS’s digital service platform products and my teams exist to serve the needs of government users, providing cost-effective, time saving digital solutions that mean there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, go to market through lengthy and costly procurement exercises, or manage the risks of building from scratch in-house.
Creating common platforms means understanding the issues faced right across government services, and to this end we are constantly learning and sharing with government teams both in the UK and around the world. We take our learnings and apply them directly to our product development process, so as to create solutions which meet the needs of many, up to and including becoming Digital Public Goods. Additionally, we put a huge amount of effort into the maintenance and operations of our product suite, making sure they remain secure, accessible and available to our users.
In celebration of all this, I am so pleased to share more about how we’re helping government teams transform services and give our readers an update on what’s happening next.
What’s been delivered
- GOV.UK Pay has onboarded 163 services in the last 12 months, including the Forestry Commission and NHS Business Authority, enabling them to take payments through online digital services — in total, we saw 23m payments processed and £1.3bn cash value handled over the last financial year
- GOV.UK Pay also launched a new Recurring Card Payments function - initially with Kent County Council and with more public services to follow - which enables local residents to save their payment details for use in ongoing regular payments
- there are over 1,300 organisations as part of nearly 7,000 public services using GOV.UK Notify and 99.99% of all messages are sent within 10 seconds — 86% of our users said in our latest survey that they were satisfied or very satisfied with our product and this is a real testament to our continued and robust service performance
- GOV.UK Design System released GOV.UK Frontend v4.7.0, which includes a new Exit this page component to help vulnerable users quickly exit a page or service
- we released Version 13 of the GOV.UK Prototype Kit, which makes it easier to update the kit, create and make changes to prototypes — we’ve also simplified the installation and tutorial to help users get started
- we supported delivery of Emergency Alerts, a UK government service that warns you if there’s a danger to life nearby
- we recently published a new site that brings all of our products together in one place to make it easier for government users to find what they need from us
What we’re doing next
With all digital products, it’s important to continue developing them based on user needs, even when they are well established like GOV.UK Pay, GOV.UK Notify or GOV.UK Design System.
GOV.UK Pay already offers Apple Pay and Google Pay to central government digital services, but soon we’re releasing the same mobile wallet payment types to local authority services and this will be a great benefit to people who are paying for government services on the go, like paying for Clean Air Zone charges.
Later this year we’ll also be investigating how GOV.UK Pay might offer open banking, which means that people will have the option to pay for services conveniently using their own banking app.
GOV.UK Notify is also launching the ability to add attachments and QR codes to letters, which will enable more government services to use the product to communicate to citizens.
It’s also right for us to call out developments with the accessibility of services. GOV.UK Design System are reviewing all components and patterns in line with the new WCAG 2.2 guidelines, updating these now so that government users will have less to do when the new guidelines are published later in the year. You can find out more about WCAG 2.2 on our YouTube channel.
Product development is also important for our emerging products, like GOV.UK Forms, which is in private beta. We’ve already made some great strides in transforming services, working in partnership with teams like the Redundancy Payments Service in the Insolvency Service.
We’re currently testing GOV.UK Forms with a limited number of other government teams to help us understand how the product is working and what issues we need to address before we make it more widely available. DWP’s Access to Work Plus referral is one of the services now using GOV.UK Forms and provides support for people with high in-work support needs.
There’s more to come from all of our teams really soon and you can read about our strategy for GOV.UK Notify and how we’re understanding more about users of the GOV.UK Prototype Kit in our recent blog posts.
The future of our common platforms
Ultimately, we want to be the first choice for building government digital services and it’s my vision for the future that any team in government, regardless of their technical skills, can deliver usable, accessible digital services that integrate seamlessly with GOV.UK, so our new mission is to integrate our products to enable that to happen.
You’ll be hearing more about it from us soon, so please stay tuned for our next update.
In the meantime, if you’re a public servant and want to know more about building digital services, or if you want to volunteer for our user research, please visit our new product site and register using your GOV.UK email address.