Digital agency records almost £80m in fees, Cabinet Office accounts reveal
The Government Digital Service more than doubled the income it received during the 2021/22 fiscal year.
The newly published annual accounts and annual report from parent department the Cabinet Office reveal that GDS booked income of £79m in the year to 31 March 2022. This compares with £31.3m in the prior year – equating to an annual increase of 152.4%.
The report indicates that GDS income is derived from the delivery to departments of various services, included the – soon-to-be-retired – GOV.UK Verify identity-assurance tool, and the GOV.UK Notify messaging platform. The digital agency is also paid for providing “digital specialist staff to assist departments” via its GDS Expert Services offering.
The now-closed GDS Academy training programme and the GOV.UK Platform as a Service hosting service – which is to discontinued by the end of 2023 – also generated fee payments from departments in FY22.
The accounts said that: “Both GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Verify have costs significantly in excess of income due to ongoing investment in service development.”
In addition to developing One Login – the new government-wide online system for accessing government services – GDS also oversees GOV.UK, which “continued to be the digital home for EU exit information and services,” during the year, the report said.
“Throughout the year, GDS supported departments to meet user needs by providing digital services, tools and platforms and collaborated across government to respond to COVID-19. Over 173 million people visited the ‘registering COVID-19 results’ service, and over two million completed the business support tool,” the report said. “The accessibility and mobile usability of GOV.UK’s homepage was improved and, more recently, GDS helped establish a digital hub for critical Ukraine information.
It added: “The One Login for Government programme – aimed at making it easier for more people to access government services online – has been prioritised and progressed this year. The programme’s first deliverable, a single sign-on platform which enables users to login and be authenticated, went live in October 2021. A high-level technical architecture has been designed and the first service, the Disclosure and Barring Service’s basic check, was on-boarded to the identity assurance part of the system in June 2022. GDS continued to develop and improve existing components in use across government. In 2021/22, 5,634 services across 1,000 organisations were supported to send over 2.3 billion emails, text messages and letters through GOV.UK Notify. GOV.UK Pay supported 476 services, taking a total of 14.7 million payments with a combined value of £938m.”