Tips for being a lead assessor for a service standard assessment

Of the assessment panel roles, the role of lead assessor for a government service standard assessment is both the most daunting (any difficult questions, everyone looks straight at you) and the least obvious (to be the design assessor, it helps to be a designer; to be a lead assessor, it helps to, um, know a lot about government services).  Somewhere back in the mists of …

A governance parable

A governance parable

[Scene: An angry civil servant from a government department confronts me, a civil servant working for GDS.] “It’s ridiculous. The service standard is just an excuse for external organisations to make money out of government. You [pointing at me] should be ashamed of this.” “What’s the problem?” “This is the problem. Every team has to have all of these people in it [brandishes print-out]. You …

Is your digital team healthy? A checklist

We sometimes talk about “bad smells” from digital teams: indications that not all is well. This is a list of the ten most pungent odours I’ve encountered. I wrote this because I hoped that it might help people identify issues and improve things. Please feel free to take this and iterate it; I’d love to know how you used it and improved it. 1. Do …

Coda: summary of suggestions

Coda: summary of suggestions

In my series on Service Design and Language, I’ve tried to offer a few practical suggestions for how we might improve the delivery of services in the languages of Welsh and English. Some of these suggestions are, of course, easier than others. A rough summary would look a bit like this: Stuff that will cost a reasonable but not ridiculous amount of money Where the …

10. Ymlaen!

In this series of posts, I’ve tried to outline some of the ways that I think we could improve the provision of public sector digital services in the languages of Welsh and English in Wales. I’m hesitant to go any further than I have done in these posts and aspire to write guidance for a few reasons.  The first reason is that good guidance, like …

9. Follow the money

I’ve always said that if you want to understand priorities about digital in the public sector, it’s simple: follow the money. Where there are many claims and plans and conferences and blog posts and strategies and good things said, the measure of commitment is money. Follow this through, and how you purchase – or procure – digital work shapes how that digital work is delivered.  …

8. Software is eating the (English speaking) World

[Part 8 of my series on language and service design] In 2011 I created a bilingual interactive government website. It used WordPress, although it was a custom approach to WordPress designed to make it scalable for national use and get around some of the performance scale issues that WordPress had at the time.  When we created a bilingual approach using WordPress, I checked to see if …

7. Working together

[Part 7 of my series on language and service design] I’ve been involved in some way with Welsh language services produced by central Westminster government departments, British government agencies based in Wales, the devolved Welsh Government, local government in Wales, the voluntary sector in Wales, and arms-length bodies based entirely in England. There are other organisations involved in producing services in the languages of Welsh and …

6. User research is not language agnostic

[Part 6 of my series on language and service design] I had done some guerrilla testing before I joined government but the first time I set up a formal programme of user testing on a new website it ended up being late on in the process on the first government project I’d been involved in. At the time I naively thought that any user testing …

5. Content design is more important with multilingual content

[Part 5 of my series on language and service design] How do you translate something exactly? As someone on Twitter said recently, translated works are basically rewritten. My favourite example of this, and also my favourite Wikipedia page, is how you might translate an expression indicating heavy rain. In Welsh, we say that “it’s raining old ladies and sticks” – mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd …