Final version of Digital Service Standard for councils published

Written by Colin Marrs on 8 April 2016 in News
News

The new Local Government Digital Service Standard, published yesterday, is a “big step forward” for local government digital delivery, according to one of those behind the initiative.

Practitioner network LocalGov Digital has published the final version of the standard after two months of consultation on the document.

The new standard, based on a version already in use by central government, is aimed at helping to enable peer reviews of services, strengthening procurement by groups of councils and enabling greater collaboration.

LocalGov Digital vice chair Phil Rumens said: "This a big step forward for the way local government delivers digital.

“Not only will it help create better services, it will enable this to happen in a more joined up way".


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More than 60 councils gave feedback on the draft standard, including during a workshop at the Government Digital Service in February.

Unlike the Whitehall guidelines, the draft local version requires that suppliers "re-use existing data and registers where the authoritative information already exists". Other differences include the removal of references to testing with ministers.

LocalGov Digital is also forming regional peer networks to support councils in adopting the standard.

It will also publish guidance on its website on the best ways of implementing each of the 15 points it contains.

A Digital Service Standard Summit will also be held in September 2016.

Final text of the Digital Service Standard for local government

1. Understand user needs. Research to develop deep knowledge of who the service users are and what that means for the design of the service

2. Ensure a suitably skilled, sustainable multidisciplinary team, led by a senior service manager with decision making responsibility, can design, build and improve the service

3. Create a service using the agile, iterative and user-centred methods set out in the Government Service Design Manual

4. Build a service that can be iterated and improved in response to user need and make sure you have the capacity, resources and technical flexibility to do so

5. Evaluate what tools and systems will be used to build, host, operate and measure the service, and how to procure them, looking to reuse existing technologies where possible

6. Evaluate what user data and information the digital service will be providing or storing and address the security level, legal responsibilities, privacy issues and risks associated with the service.

7. Use open standards, existing authoritative data and registers, and where possible make source code and service data open and reusable under appropriate licenses

8. Be able to test the end-to-end service in an environment similar to that of the live version, including all common browsers and devices

9. Make a plan for the event of the digital service being taken temporarily offline, and regularly test

10. Make sure that the service is simple enough that users succeed first time unaided

11. Build a service consistent with the user experience of government digital services, including using common government platforms and the Government Service Manual design patterns

12. Encourage maximum usage of the digital service (with assisted digital support if required)

13. Identify performance indicators for the service, incorporating existing indicators and publishing to a performance platform, if appropriate

14. Put a process in place for ongoing user research, usability testing to continuously seek feedback from users, and collection of performance data to inform future improvement to the service

15. Test the service from beginning to end with appropriate council member or senior manager responsible for it

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Comments

Matt B Durcan (not verified)

Submitted on 10 April, 2016 - 14:00
Gosh, what a delightful dose of common sense, worth reading very carefully. Good advice for any digital implementation, Local Government or not. I regard this standard as a very good use of public funds (and yes, I have stolen it for my own use - the highest possible praise!) I suspect the difficult bit will be staying true to the standard amidst the cost, time and immaturity issues associated with some systems and some organisations.

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