Delivering Government services

I’ve been really enjoying the Government Digital Service blog.  It represents a transparency that I’m not used to from governmental organisations.  It’s not only that, they’re doing some genuinely interesting things.

As a huge proponent of agile software development, it’s interesting to see its principles applied to the lumbering juggernaut that is the UK government.  When people ask whether their organisation can move to an agile way of working, I point them at the Government Digital Service as I can’t think of a more un-agile organisation.

They put a post up today that talks about some of the user testing they’ve been doing recently, and it’s great to see this level of thought going in to the way in which government services are delivered.

For example, it didn’t occur to me that the average reading age in the deaf community is generally lower than the UK adult population. This was first identified by Reuben Conrad in 1980 when he tested deaf children’s reading skills and found that the average reading age was 8 years old. It was so shocking that many people started to change from oral education to signing. The average has now crept up to about 9 but it is still less than what’s required to be able to read the Daily Mail.

There’s little nuggets of information dotted throughout the blog.  I’ve worked on government projects previously, and I can only imagine the amount of effort that went in to creating the sort of collaborative environment they’ve got.