GDS begins to create service communities

‘Starting a Business’ group is first to focus on development of cross-departmental service

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is planning to form networks of people with different skills from across government to work on cross-departmental services.

Four hands placing jigsaw pieces togetherIt has christened the groups ‘service communities’ and said they come from a wider pool than the existing communities of practice, which involve people working in specific areas such as accessibility and agile delivery.

The new groups will involve people from several areas involved in delivering a service – such as user research, data and back end technology.

GDS has taken a first step with the creation of a Starting a Business community, bringing together employees from HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. There are plans to bring in other departments as the community develops.

Variations and silos

It says in a new blogpost that the move follows research last year that showed there is a variation from department to department in how they create services, and silos between different areas and professions.

“It’s clear that we need to address this issue, particularly as the Government Transformation Strategy sets out a commitment to ‘build services that run seamlessly across government’,” it says.

The Starting a Business service was chosen as a first step because it is regarded as relatively straightforward and not owned by a specific department. The group has already identified some challenges such as the difficulties in aligning work across departments and that it can never start with a blank slate to design a perfect solution.

“Despite these challenges, we’ve found that there’s a real appetite for cross-government collaboration and that the community has worked well together on projects such as mapping out the end-to-end user journey for the service,” the blogpost says.

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