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What we’re working on: 10 March 2016

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What we’ve been working on since the last update on 8 January, and what we plan to do next.

As usual we’ve divided the work up into lists of what we’ve been doing to keep GOV.UK running, and what we’re doing to make it better.

Running and supporting GOV.UK

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

  • published a new page to help users find Department for Education content before they contact the department - it’s a 3-month experiment to see whether it helps users get information quicker
  • published new content for students who are starting university in 2016 and want to apply for loans and grants
  • reworked guidance on reporting child abuse and changed the report child abuse local transaction so that users can quickly see a phone number without visiting their local authority’s website. This is to support a campaign by the Department for Education
  • made short notice updates to child car seat rules and plug-in grants for cars and vans
  • created a dashboard to produce list of top pages that depend on each backend app API endpoint - to help us when we're deploying our apps
  • fixed a self-serve function for Managing Editors to be able to un-withdraw documents, without needing to involve a developer
  • made the No 10 and Civil Service homepages more accurate by linking to the full list of all latest activity rather than only announcements from the 'see all' link on the 'latest' news feed
  • resolved propositional discussions (ie mainstream or specialist) around approved driving instructors with Driving Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) and HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS)
  • performed a third survey test on GOV.UK for the user research team to help them understand more about what people are doing on GOV.UK
  • undertaken preparatory work for the many changes that will be required for the new financial year (new tax rates etc.)
  • worked with HMRC service content designers to review user journeys into the new company accounts and tax service and plan for upcoming policy changes
  • hosted a content crit with the Treasury to share what worked well and what could be improved for this year's Budget content on GOV.UK
  • completed our fourth wave of benchmarking to measure the performance of GOV.UK

Improving GOV.UK

To improve GOV.UK in relation to the missions on our roadmap, we’ve:

  • delivered a prototype of a much-improved import/export content design - one of the most challenging content areas on GOV.UK. The alpha team will test this with users and stakeholders across government to validate and make the case for implementing a radically simplified approach to this complex content theme
  • completed the first content audit for early years education and childcare provision
  • spent 2 days working with the Department for Education's digital team to get a better understanding of the issues they face when publishing content to GOV.UK
  • carried out research on a new tagging workflow for Whitehall Publisher
  • continued work on improvements to pet travel content in collaboration with Defra - this should be ready for fact checking with Defra next week
  • built a smart answer in collaboration with the Insolvency Service for finding out options for dealing with debt, helping users know what they can do if they’ve tried budgeting, etc.
  • finished analysis of user research we did with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on starting a business, which will feed into an upcoming content improvement project
  • tested our new versions of MapIt that underpins local transaction lookups. This will update our postcode and local authority boundary information to the most up to date data set
  • migrated HMRC manuals api, policy publisher, HTML publications, policy/working groups and statistics announcements to the new tagging architecture
  • built functionality to allow us to check that our publishing tool migrations are successful

Things we plan to do next

In the next 2 to 3 weeks we expect to:

  • publish a new tool to find out if you can get a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check following the final round of feedback
  • visit the Department for Education's call centre in Manchester to hear the concerns and questions raised by the public
  • complete the transition of HM Courts and Tribunals Service content
  • carry out further contextual research to learn more about what users need in relation to early years content and services
  • migrate Whitehall Publisher to the new tagging architecture
  • create a snapshot of our search index, so that the search index can be restored quickly (this will also be publicly available)
  • complete more inventories and audits for the education theme
  • launch new content sub topics on 'The team, User research and Assisted Digital' on the Service Manual and migrating pages
  • open up the service manual publishing app to community leads so they can comment on and the team can improve the content
  • create content for DVLA penalties and enforcements to help users know what, when and how to pay
  • make updates to the ‘Right to rent’ checks content
  • carry out April legislative changes, including bankruptcy application processes, employment tribunals, and the driving theory test booking service

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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 Ale del Cueto posted on

    Hi there

    I have a question about one of the actions you've completed: 'fixed a self-serve function for Managing Editors to be able to un-withdraw documents, without needing to involve a developer'

    I've tried doing this, but I can't see this function in publisher. Am I missing something? Or is the function not live yet?

    Many thanks

  2. Comment by Jennifer Allum, Product Manager at GOV.UK posted on

    Hello Ale,

    We are in the final stages of testing the self service tool for un-withdrawing documents. I expect it should be live next week. We will add a post in Basecamp once it is, so that you can begin using it, when you need to.

    Many thanks,