Tuesday 20 May 2014

Can website designers "challenge" UK government policy?

Writing 18 months ago about Martha-now-Lady Lane Fox's call for a revolution in the UK, we noted among others this demand:
Directgov should own the citizen experience of digital public services and be tasked with driving a 'service culture' across government which could, for example, challenge any policy and practice that undermines good service design.
In the event, the revolutionary cadre implementing the new dispensation is GDS, the Government Digital Service, and not Directgov. GDS's skill lies in designing websites. Can website designers "challenge" UK government policy?

As it turns out, yes:
GDS unable to approve Immigration 'live digital by default' request

The Government Digital Service (GDS) says it has been unable to approve a request from the "Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime" initiative to be branded as "live digital by default" on the service.gov.uk domain.

The "Report an Immigration or Smuggling Crime" service within the Home Office's Border Force allows the public to submit information about foreign nationals working or living illegally in the UK or any kind of smuggling.

In its assessment carried out on 23rd April, GDS said it was pleased to see significant progress had been made since the first assessment with regards to putting users first and undertaking user research. However, it added, "there are a number of areas which need to be addressed in order for the service to meet the criteria for becoming a Live Digital by Default service."
You may or may not think the Home Office's initiative is a good idea. It doesn't matter. The point is that it's their initiative. And they can't pursue it because a group of website designers say so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You hit the spot with the fundamental flaw at GDS they are "web designers/builders" and collators of information. “Digital is about your business operations” as articulated by Dr Sally Howes, Executive Leader, Digital and Innovation at the NAO. So it is clear “digital” requires to be driven by business understanding in particular how people actually work. It is therefore fundamental that to lead any digital initiative requires the knowledge of what capabilities can do to deliver. It is called being the “intelligent customer”.

From responses from my FOIs to the Cabinet Office / GDS it is clear no research has been undertaken. In particular Mr Bracken is unable to back what he said in his speech to Code for America it was reported he said "Technology is a fourth-order question in government…..Only after the user needs and the policy needs and the operational needs have been determined should attention be paid to the technology needs, if any ... If we let technology determine public services, then we are literally starting in the wrong place and guaranteeing failure. But he is wrong “knowledge” of capabilities that can with confidence deliver on the user, policy and operational needs is a must have and he clearly does not really understand.

See my comments in computer weekly about lack of research and the truth about the G Cloud; a topic that needs “exposed”….? http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240220633/Big-business-can-be-beautiful-too-says-COO-of-HM-government See my advice to Australians in Digital Strategy Consultants http://lnkd.in/djrd9b8 learn where UK has failed? Maybe advice the Home Office should follow?

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