The Digital Service Standard is a set of 18 criteria to help government create and run good digital services.
All public facing transactional services must meet the standard. It’s used by departments and the Government Digital Service to check whether a service is good enough for public use.
1. Understand user needs
Understand user needs. Research to develop a deep knowledge of who the service users are and what that means for the design of the service.
2. Do ongoing user research
Put a plan in place for ongoing user research and usability testing to continuously seek feedback from users to improve the service.
3. Have a multidisciplinary team
Put in place a sustainable multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and senior service manager with decision-making responsibility.
4. Use agile methods
Build your service using the agile, iterative and user-centred methods set out in the manual.
5. Iterate and improve frequently
Build a service that can be iterated and improved on a frequent basis and make sure that you have the capacity, resources and technical flexibility to do so.
6. Evaluate tools and systems
Evaluate what tools and systems will be used to build, host, operate and measure the service, and how to procure them.
7. Understand security and privacy issues
Evaluate what user data and information the digital service will be providing or storing and address the security level, legal responsibilities, privacy issues and risks associated with the service (consulting with experts where appropriate).
8. Make all new source code open
Make all new source code open and reusable, and publish it under appropriate licences (or provide a convincing explanation as to why this can't be done for specific subsets of the source code).
9. Use open standards and common platforms
Use open standards and common government platforms where available, including GOV.UK Verify as an option for identity assurance.
10. Test the end-to-end service
Be able to test the end-to-end service in an environment identical to that of the live version, including on all common browsers and devices, and using dummy accounts and a representative sample of users.
11. Make a plan for being offline
Make a plan for the event of the digital service being taken temporarily offline.
12. Make sure users succeed first time
Create a service which is simple to use and intuitive enough that users succeed the first time.
13. Make the user experience consistent with GOV.UK
Build a service consistent with the user experience of the rest of GOV.UK including using the design patterns and style guide.
14. Encourage everyone to use the digital service
Encourage all users to use the digital service (with assisted digital support if required) alongside an appropriate plan to phase out non-digital channels and services.
15. Collect performance data
Use tools for analysis that collect performance data. Use this data to analyse the success of the service and to translate this into features and tasks for the next phase of development.
16. Identify performance indicators
Identify performance indicators for the service, including the 4 mandatory key performance indicators (KPIs) defined in the manual. Establish a benchmark for each metric and make a plan to enable improvements.
17. Report performance data on the Performance Platform
Why you should report data and how you'll be assessed.
18. Test with the minister
Test the service from beginning to end with the minister responsible for it.