Departments’ online services must hit 80% digitisation and user satisfaction to meet ‘great’ standard

Transformation roadmap published last year set a target for two thirds of the 75 services defined as being among government’s most used or critical to meet a defined ‘great’ standard

Departments online services must achieve digital adoption, completion and user satisfaction rates of about 80% in order to be certified as ‘great’ under new government standards.

Published in June 2022, the Transforming for a digital future strategy set out a three-year plan for government’s use of digital and data, including six key missions. The first of which is that, by 2025, 50 of the 75 services defined as government’s most-used or critical will have been certified as ‘great’, under standards set out by the Central Digital and Data Office – which created the strategy and is overseeing its rollout.

The standards are intended to reflect industry-wide benchmarks in two key areas: usability, covering considerations such as ease of use and whether a user’s entire journey can be completed digitally; and efficiency, covering cost-effectiveness.

Newly published guidance from CDDO on the digital strategy and its progress so far reveals the thresholds that services must meet in order to achieve the great standard.

There are three core elements to assess usability, in all of which services must achieve a score of around 80% or more. These are:

  • Digital adoption rate, which must be greater than 79%
  • Digital completion rate, which must be greater than 80%
  • User satisfaction score, which must be greater than 78%

Efficiency will largely be judged on cost per transaction – which does not have a standard measurement to be applied across all services, but rather “thresholds [are] defined by service type, complexity, and volume”.

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As well as meeting all these thresholds set by CDDO, services must also demonstrate compliance with version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – an internationally recognised set of standards for the accessibility of websites and online services.

Alongside these quantitative measures, some services may be deemed suitable for a qualitative assessment, according to the new guidelines.

“This recognises that services each operate with a unique set of objectives and constraints and some factors are difficult to measure quantitatively,” the guidance said. “If sufficient evidence is provided scores can be adjusted accordingly through this step. For example, where services are designed to protect against fraud, the goal may be reduced digital completion, rather than high completion.”

A total of 15 services have already been assessed and achieved the ‘great’ standard, according to CDDO.

“To accelerate progress, over autumn 2023 CDDO will be providing direct support to departments, as they implement their ambitious programmes of improvements,” the guidelines said.

Among those already certified as ‘great’ are a service from the Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs which allows users to sign up to receive flood warnings for their area.

“The service has undergone a significant redesign including improved accessibility and user experience. This has led to the service reaching a ‘great’ standard,” said the CDDO update.

Sam Trendall

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