Scottish government seeks digital service standards assessors

Written by Rebecca Hill on 22 November 2016 in News
News

The Scottish government plans to launch its assessment process for digital services in early 2017 and is looking for volunteers to act as assessors.

Scottish government seeks volunteers to assess digital services - Photo credit: Flickr, JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0

The government published its Digital First Service Standard in May this year, which has 22 criteria that all Scottish digital public services will have to meet in the future.


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The standard is based on the 18 points used by the UK’s Government Digital Service, but with elements from other governments, including Australia’s approach of more regular check-ins with teams to avoid “deal-breakers” when services reach the assessment phase.

This resonates with recent developments within Whitehall, as some departments are moving away from the GDS model of service assessment.

For instance, the Ministry of Justice is trialling what it describes as “continuous service review” that will see a peer reviewer sitting in on sprint reviews throughout the development process, while the Department of Health is piloting a “leaner” approach that focuses on just three core questions.

And GDS itself has acknowledged there could be improvements. A new assessment approach is now in its alpha phase and the new leader Kevin Cunnington has said that GDS is “prepared to be a lot more collaborative about controls” if departments demonstrate going in the right direction.

Echoing Cunnington’s remarks, a Socttish government blogpost published last week said that it wants its own assessment process to be “collaborative, supportive and of value to the teams building digital services across the public sector”.

The government is now looking for people working in the public sector with experience of digital projects to act as assessors on the technical aspects, and on products, content design, assisted digital, user research and performance.

It added that it was particularly keen to hear from anyone who has assessed the GDS standard.

Volunteers should expect to spend 1.5 working days preparing for an assessment and attending the meeting and be involved in two or three assessments each year. There will also be a half-day training package for volunteers to introduce them to the standard.

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