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GDS launches functional standard for digital, data and tech


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Government Digital Service (GDS) has published a functional standard for how government should use digital, data and technology – taking in 10 principles for the creation of digital services.

It is intended to tie together existing standards and policies in the field and at supporting the functional model for central government set up in 2015.

The document, labelled as version 1, conveys the principles as the basis for creating or providing digital services, beginning with the requirement to align with government policy and meet clearly identified user needs.

Others include the need to evaluate business processes, provide appropriate levels of security and privacy, use mandatory open government standards, and collect, store, use and delete data in an ethically appropriate way.

Further sections deal with governance frameworks, the delivery of digital services and how they should be managed.

There is also an emphasis on ensuring the relevant skills and experience are in place.

What and why

Rhiannon Lawson, head of technology policy at GDS, has said the functional standard sets out what functions should do and why, in contrast to technical standards – such as the Technology Code of Practice and Service Standard – describing how to do it.

“The aim is that, taken altogether, the full suite of standards will provide a clear explanation of all the common functions of government,” she says in a blogpost. “They do not go into detail like technical standards, which makes them useful introductions to new staff, particularly senior leaders who are new to government.”

The new standard has initially been published for an internal government trial and GDS is looking for feedback to support the next iteration.


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