What’s new in the new Service Standard

The Government Digital Service recently launched a new version of the Service Standard. What’s changed?

  • It’s now called the Service Standard, not the Digital Service Standard. This reflects the desire to create end-to-end services. This is better than creating digital services, and then (if you’re lucky) considering assisted digital as an afterthought. People are encouraged to provide a joined up experience across channels. What’s the user experience like if a user phones or emails you?
  • Removed the requirement to tell everyone to use the digital service. Because digital isn’t always the right channel. And there’s already a financial imperative encouraging service owners to encourage people to shift to digital. So we didn’t need to push that any more. Instead, we need to encourage people to think more broadly about the service, not just the digital part.
  • Focus on solving a whole problem for users, not just a part of it. The Standard encourages people to ask if the service is part of a wider journey. e.g. business tax registration is probably part of a broader journey of starting a business. So you should join up with those services too.
  • The team have added more information on why the Service Standard expects certain things, and the benefits of following the Standard. So it’s less doctrinaire and encourages people to do the right thing.
  • People are challenged to go beyond just thinking about accessibility, and to think about inclusion more generally: e.g. trans people and same sex relationships.
  • The type of approach to meeting user needs is challenged. Is the service the right way to deliver user needs? Or should you publish content or make data available via an API instead?
  • The scope of the service is questioned. If it’s too broad or too narrow it’s a problem.
  • Removed the requirement to test with the minister.