We’ve recently developed a set of standards to guide the GOV.UK team’s response to requests from government organisations. The standards are posted in full over here - but if you’re short of time, here’s the one-minute version.
The basic performance standard
First of all, please use the internal support form to ask the GOV.UK team to do things - not our personal emails. Your requests reach us via a system called Zendesk.
We aim to give a considered response to all enquiries within 2 working days.
We’ll try to give you a definitive response in this time - but we may need to ask you for more information, or for more time to consult.
If we accept changes, we’ll give you an idea of timing - for example whether we’ll aim to complete them this sprint, or during an upcoming or future sprint.
Fairly urgent and really urgent stuff
We recognise that not everything can be planned in advance.
So every 2 hours, we will scan the requests we’ve received for particularly urgent issues - for example, new bugs that affect the site’s usability.
To help us do this, write URGENT in the title, and in your ticket explain the impact on users if the issue is not resolved immediately.
Critical events: use our emergency phone number
We also have emergency phone contact numbers you can use to reach us immediately if your request is of critical urgency. Our guidelines contain an overview of the situations that might merit this.
GOV.UK emergency contact phone numbers
- Find emergency contact details on GOV.UK (sign-on required)
- Find emergency contact details on the Heads of Digital Communications Basecamp group (sign-on required)
We have separate guidance for publishing in a national emergency.
Managing and chasing your requests
If we don’t get back to you within the above targets, chase your request by updating your existing Zendesk ticket. Please don’t create a new one, as that’s really confusing.
Please help us manage requests by only raising one issue per ticket. We’ll close any requests which have been awaiting your response for more than 2 weeks.
Reporting back and evaluating how we’re doing
This is the first time we’ve set explicit standards for our responses to government organisations. They won’t be perfect - but we hope they’re a step in the right direction.
We’ll report back to GOV.UK steering group on how we’re doing; and will review these standards in December/January.
In the meantime, please use the comments section on this blogpost to raise any questions or issues.