Sprint 16 Notes

What is Sprint 16?


https://gds.blog.gov.uk/20495-2/ — Agenda

https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2016/02/11/11-february-2016-sprint-16-live-blog/ — Live Blog

The two session talks i went to:

  • User focussed service design
  • Diversity in technology


  • Government ‘of the internet’, not ‘on the internet’
  • 1 Mission : Transform the relationship between the citizen and the state (gov job is to serve the people. users first)
  • GDS — platforms, standards, challenge and support
  • thought leaders, and standard setters
  • GDS won’t build all the platforms, depts need to build some
  • Creating service patterns — e.g. permissions, licensing
  • Still all about user needs — and not stopping at the departmental boundary
  • Communities: of interest -> practice -> action
  • DWP 8 digital academies: training staff.
  • Govuk pay — live demo (Beta). GDS has done all the work of integrating with payment providers. v easy to take payment for any gov service — log in and tick a box to add payment provider to your service
  • Services in development have no value. Get a small thing live quickly
  • The last 5 years were just the start.

Government is powering the digital economy

  • £1bn has gone through digital marketplace, 50% of that to Small Medium enterprises. And for each £1 Gov has saved roughly a £1
  • GaaP — Government as a platform — announced at sprint15, is now firmly underway

Govuk Notify

  • live demo (Beta). GDS has done all the work texting, emailing, sending letters. Can sign in now and start sending test text messages. Depts to 250,000 texts for free.
  • 1 in 4 calls to government are someone asking for an update
  • Don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to use it, just get online and try it

Service Design

  • Providing services makes up roughly 80% of the cost of government.
  • Of this 80%, around 60% is spent dealing with calls and casework. Most of it completely unnecessarily.
  • Good services are verbs not nouns. We know this from stats, phone calls, google search terms
  • Gov originated from Nouns: we’re out to fix that, to the way people think and act.
  • Changing tech, and putting existing forms online won’t fix the problem
  • in gov: 300 designers, 10 heads of design
  • Service design saves money (if done well).
  • build verbs not nouns, as 40% of phone calls to government are to check “what to do”
  • Names of services are really important — it seems like a small thing, but it is actually a big deal
  • Completion rate is a good measure of service design success/failure


  • Data skills (needed, open data, data science)
  • Data Policy (legislation, common approaches, international leadership)
  • Data Infrastructure (Registers, API’s)



  • being copied around the world (copied the github code, the process, the manual, and user centered design)
  • US gov, federal and state: https://18f.gsa.gov/
  • Israel, France, Australia, New Zealand https://www.govt.nz/
  • local councils
  • Making gov.uk services so simple has fundamentally challenged the rip-off websites
  • user needs, of this century. not last century, or any previous. not just putting things online.
  • the tradition of great British design.

Government as a Platform, Notify and Pay




More links

Civil Service World






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