Republishing service manual content

One of the many things I did some work on while at GDS back in 2013 was the Government Service Design Manual. This was intended to be a central resource for teams across (and outside) Government about how to go about building, designing and running modern internet-era services. It was a good snapshot of opinions from the people that made up GDS on a wide range of different topics. Especially for the people who spent time in the field with other departments, having an official viewpoint published publicly was hugely helpful.

Recently the Service Manual got a bit of a relaunch but unfortunately this involved deleting much of the content about operations and running a service. Even more unfortunately the service manual is now described as something that:

exists to help people across government build services that meet the Digital Service Standard and prepare for service assessments.

So in basic terms it’s refocusing on helping people pass the exam rather than being all about learning. Which is a shame. Compare that with the original intent:

Build services so good that people prefer to use them

However, all that content is not lost. Luckily the content is archived on GitHub and was published under the terms of the Open Government License which allows for anyone to “copy, publish, distribute and transmit the Information”. So I’m choosing to republish a few of the pieces I wrote and found useful when talking to and assisting other Government departments. These represent an interesting snapshot from a few years ago, but I think mainly stand the test of time, even if I’d change a few things if I wrote them today.