Mike Bracken

Welcome to the Government Digital Service blog

by Mike Bracken. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

We exist to make public services digital by default, and we are relentlessly focused on user needs.

At the moment, we are bringing together various strands of Government digital activity into one function in order to drive up quality and consistency of user experience. Please do take some time to review our projects.

As the new Director of Digital it has been an amazing few weeks, so I would like to share a few first impressions from inside Government. As a digital citizen who has watched Government carefully for some years, it was still a surprise to see how deep the commitment to user needs permeates through the Civil Service, and without exception I have had support for more digital innovation to meet user demand. Which is one reason that I am delighted to see Mark O’Neill, Peter Herlihy and team deliver the e-petitions site so quickly. In particular, the delivery of this project is an indicator to how we will deliver going forward: It was done quickly to a high standard, will be updated continuously based on usage and demand, and had limited development cost. It enabled the GDS to work with some outstanding external developers, and we also were advised by many developers who have delivered in this space before. I expect this model to be repeated again and again as we move to becoming digital by default.

The second key piece of learning for me has been how important it will be to have a federated identity layer across Government services. While inside Government it can be hard to see outside of departmental processes, as citizens and users we all know that we generally view Government services digitally as being either locally or nationally provided, and that we often don’t worry too much about the department responsible. Accepting that this user behaviour will drive the provision of cross Government delivery is a principle which has been played back to me repeatedly in the last 3 weeks. We will have more information about identity and digital services coming soon.

The final impression is the high level of encouragement and interest outside of Government. I have been bowled over by the goodwill and encouragement that those who have looked at the GDS have provided. The idea that a high-level of digital talent at the heart of Government, involving policy, strategy and delivery on behalf of users, is now seen as a key part of Government transformation has been fully embraced. I will be laying out more detail on this vision and how we will help deliver digital services in the coming weeks and months

In the meantime, please get in touch and let us know what content and data you would like to see here. Like the GDS itself, this blog is a work in progress, so we will update and inform as much as we can, because even in our communications, we are led by user demand.

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