GDS updates code of practice for government digital projects

Written by Rebecca Hill on 16 June 2016 in News
News

The Government Digital Service plans to update its Technology Code of Practice to encourage a more adaptive and innovative approach to technology use in government.

The GDS has said creating the new Technology Code of Practice is an iterative process - Photo credit: Flickr, Sebastian Wiertz

The GDS said the code, which was introduced in 2013 to provide guidance on the best way to design, buy and build technology and digital services, needs to be updated.

It published a draft version of an updated code for consultation on 15 June.


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The code allows the GDS to challenge government spending on technology, with the aim being to reduce the number of long-term, high-value contracts awarded.

It sets out what digital projects must demonstrate in order to be approved by the GDS, which include demonstrating value for money and that they meet other government standards, such as digital by default and open standard.

The updated code continues the drive to smaller, multi-supplier contracts, which the GDS describes as a “more mature approach” to sourcing IT in government.

The GDS says that further aims of the updated code is to push government to be more open to innovative, new technologies, saying that it wants to make government a “more attractive and willing customer” for such technologies.

In addition, the GDS says the new code will promote a more adaptive approach to technology and help people determine the ideal target for their technology services.

Unlike the existing version of the code, which outlines 21 elements that must be met by technology projects, the new code divides the principles into eight sections in an effort to offer users an easier to understand document.

The eight sections include measures that should be used to ensure and demonstrate projects are open, secure and accessible.

Other sections cover the need to use the cloud first, share and reuse data, information or capabilities, and common government platforms such as the GOV.UK components.

The final principles are that projects meet the digital service standard and comply with the greening government ICT strategy.

The code then details three principles for the sourcing of contracts.

These are to use common government solutions, such as the Digital Marketplace, to enter into “sensible” contracts – the code includes a list of what contracts should and shouldn’t commit departments to – and to fully define the sourcing strategy for the contract.

The deadline for responses to the new code is 8 July. The GDS said it would be reviewing the spend controls process separately, with more details to come soon.

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