GDS created the GOV.UK app to access hundreds of services

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credit: Crown Copyright / Open Government License v3.0

By the end of next year, citizens will have access to hundreds of government services using the GOV.UK smartphone app.

The development of the technology led by Government Digital Services is part of the ongoing work of the OneLogin programme. The program aims to introduce a single integrated process that replaces existing patchwork on many different systems currently in use between departments. and services.

The Cabinet Office said the app provides citizens with the same means of access to government services, but the same integrated login process is also available from mobile and desktop web browsers. public technology..

The intention is that all government services across all departments will use the new login platform. Currently, there are 191 different account systems in use across the central government and there are 44 different sign-in methods.

The GOV.UK Verify Identity-Assurance Tool, a previous major effort to build a government-wide access system, faced delays and restricted access from both citizens and territories. Of the hundreds of services offered by central government ministries, only 15 currently use verification as part of the sign-in process.

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GDS CEO Tom Reid recently told members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that digital agencies were deliberately trying to avoid mistakes made during the development of Verification when building a new system. He said that he is working on it.

“The validation program involved a technology approach and overall design from the start,” he said. “It’s fair that this wasn’t done, and we’ll be testing it again and again against real users to see if it’s done. [approach] It worked – and now it turns out it doesn’t work for about half of the users who use it. “

Read more: “What are we doing instead [for One Login] Working with a broad spectrum of government, the forefront of this area said: “Learn more about how users work. Build a solution that works for that group of users.” Then move on to the next set of users and see if it works. If that doesn’t work, you need a spindle and you’ll need a slightly different solution. “

Reiterating the importance of GDS working with government agencies, the government announced plans to develop a GOV.UK app to ensure the new system meets the needs of government agencies.

“GDS is working to provide maximum services in all government sectors,” the government said. “This app was developed around data security and implements strong data protection principles to keep users in control of their data.”

In addition, “using the app is optional and you can access government services in a variety of ways as needed.”

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The decision to build the app shows that it differs slightly from the strategy GDS has supported in the months and years since GDS was founded in 2011.

Digital entities have previously advised departments and institutions to spend their time and money developing web services that work well on both desktop and mobile platforms.

In a 2013 blog post, GDS co-founder Tom Losemore said that the organization is taking an “app-less approach by default”. The Cabinet Office for a special exemption to do so.

“For government services, we recognize that the benefits of developing and maintaining apps rarely justify the costs, especially if the underlying service design is not optimal,” he says. Growth. “Departments need to focus on improving the quality of their core web services.”

The obvious difference between then and now is that the apps developed by GDS provide a gateway to all government services and not standalone programs built for individual departments and services. That’s the purpose.

Plans to develop the app were announced this week by the Prime Minister of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Berkeley.

“More than ever, it is important for governments to meet people’s growing expectations for the services they use,” he said. “During the pandemic, people have had to interact with public services in many new ways, including NHS apps and vaccine booking services. People naturally expected data-driven digital literacy from governments. This is a priority in my new role. “

Berkeley’s appointment as Cabinet Office minister is understood to show for the first time in years that responsibility for the GDS and the broader digital government agenda is at the top of the region.

In June 2017, the Minister of State for Special Missions, Damian Greene, handed over supervision to Carolyn Noakes, then deputy secretary of the ministry. Since then, it has been part of the portfolio of junior ministers, with Noakes, Oliver Dowden, Simon Hart, Jeremy Quinn, Sir Agnew and most recently Julia Lopez as GDS ministers. Only Downon was in charge of the brief.

However, Berkeley has a keen interest in digital government, and the former finance minister is directly responsible for the GDS, its recently established sister body, the Central Digital Data Office, and broad government technical oversight. can tolerate.

In addition to announcing the GOV.UK app, Barkley also revealed the composition of the newly established Digital Advisory Board. According to the government, the committee “advises government ministers and officials to accelerate the digital transformation.”

The following have been appointed to the Board of Directors: Zaka Mian, former Group Change Director of Lloyds Banking Group. Monique Sivanandan, Chief Information Security Officer, HSBC. Matthew Timms, EON’s Chief Digital and Information Officer; James Bilefield, a former digital executive and currently a director or advisor to various organizations such as MoneySupermarkets, McKinsey and Stagecoach.


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