GDS to set up technical architecture service for Whitehall

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced plans to set up a technical architecture service for government.

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The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced plans to set up a technical architecture service for government.

As the government looks to move from redesigning 25 ‘exemplar’ digital transactions in seven departments to supporting more than 700 transactions across 24 departments, it will aim to standardise approaches where possible and avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’, according to a blog post by government chief technical architect Kevin Humphries.

The new service hopes to support the delivery of digital services by departments by bringing out any common patterns, features and services. The service will sit within Liam Maxwell’s office, formally titled the ‘Office of the Chief Technology Officer’.

In his post, Humphries explained: “A technical architect does for computer-based systems what a civil architect does for buildings.”

He added: “We believe that user focused and cloud hosted services will be better, more cost effective and more flexible than the older horizontally-integrated ones.

“But we also need to have a coherent plan and architecture for what we are building, to ensure that the right services are built, there is reuse and savings wherever possible, services are of the right quality and are built at the right price, citizens own their data, are aware of what data is used and it is shared at each stage.”

The government hopes this approach will help support its plans to move away from big, bespoke infrastructure and outsourcing to large IT vendors and build technology services that can be continually upgraded and improved to keep up with user needs

Following its usual Agile method, the GDS will now undertake an initial ‘discovery phase’ to figure out the needs that the service must meet, before running an alpha service in a few departments and for a number of major projects.

This is expected to take most of the remainder of this year, after which the service will be extended to the whole of government.

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