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What we’re working on: 2 October 2015

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What we’ve been working on since the last update, and what we plan to do next.

What we’ve done since 21 September

Running and supporting GOV.UK

To keep GOV.UK accurate, available and secure, and to meet the most pressing needs of end users, we’ve:

  • published the Highway Code as a manual - this includes new laws, but also improves the user experience and brings the Highway Code closer to GOV.UK style
  • changed the format of Claim your State Pension online in response to Feedex comments that indicated users found the 'smart answer' tool confusing - it's now a single page 'quick answer' so users can find what they need more quickly
  • fixed a problem with manuals that was causing users to see search results in the wrong format

To meet the needs of the people who use the GOV.UK publishing tools, and our other colleagues across government, we’ve:

  • fixed a bug in Specialist Publisher (the application we use to publish 'finders') that meant it created duplicate editions of documents
  • continued work on our new Write API to support the Finding Things team
  • continued to work with HMRC to allow them to publish manuals through our API

To keep our technology stable and up-to-date, and to improve our ability to support users in future, we’ve:

  • migrated large parts of GOV.UK’s publishing infrastructure to a new cloud hosting provider; during this migration we upgraded our operating system to the latest long term support version - this action also upgraded our database versions
  • made staging easier for our developers to test things in before going to production by naming it correctly
  • renumbered our IP addresses to allow for less painful inter-environment communication
  • moved from using * to * for our admin tools
  • upgraded Ruby and Rails for the feedback and static apps

Improving GOV.UK

Things we’ve done to improve GOV.UK in relation to the missions on our development roadmap:

Mission: Links to local government

  • investigated whether partial postcodes would return useful results for users

Mission: 5 legacy site transitions

Mission: Content improvement themes alpha

  • completed our Certificate of Professional Competence driver content improvement theme to improve the journey for people hoping to become a lorry or bus driver
  • started work on a project to improve user journeys and service referrals for the highest volume services linked from GOV.UK content
  • started work on improvements to mainstream browse descriptions, including consistent style guidance and more effective use of metadata for internal and external search

Things we plan to do next

In the coming 2 to 3 weeks we expect to:

  • start work on a project to improve GOV.UK guidance for small businesses wanting to import and export goods
  • start to move publishing tools to use a more up-to-date way of identifying local councils (using GSS codes rather than SNACs)
  • review analytics from local authorities, so that we can better understand how users are using links to local government on GOV.UK
  • add analytics tracking to errors in postcode lookups, so that we can track when users have problems entering a postcode
  • investigate how we handle local links for users in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

As always, if any of this is unclear, or if you have feedback on whether we’re prioritising the right stuff, please do comment on this post to let us know.

Jack Church provides Programme Support for GOV.UK. Keep in touch: subscribe to email alerts from this blog.

If this kind of work appeals to you, take a look at Working for GDS – we’re usually in search of talented people to come and join the team


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  1. Comment by Ben posted on

    When's the next "What we're working on" post going to be published?

  2. Comment by Jack Church posted on

    Hi Ben,

    Apologies as we haven't published a what we're working on blog post in a while, the next one is due to be published tomorrow.