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There’s something significant about the way that the subscriptions have been implemented, as all the emails will be sent using the GOV.UK Notify service.
— Jason Kitcat (@jasonkitcat) July 5, 2018
Borrow and reuse, don’t build
When we originally launched this blogging platform we talked about the principle of borrowing, not building, and this is another great example of what this means in practice. Services like Notify have been specifically designed for reuse by service teams across government, and make it possible to design, assemble and build new simple services (like email, SMS or even hard-copy letters and notifications) with minimal cost and effort.
Finding (and improving) the common elements of services
Identifying common things that teams and their users are doing is key to the successful modernisation of Essex County Council’s services, and ensuring they continue to meet people’s needs in the internet age.
Things like making bookings, scheduling appointments, keeping people informed and taking payments are generally done in different ways across our many diverse services.
This can lead to a disjointed experience for the users of the services and a poor experience for the service teams who also rely on these processes to do their work. In some cases there are good reasons why things have to be different, but often a flexible, robust and reliable central solution might reduce costs, improve reliability and enhance the experience of users at the same time.
The concept of identifying common needs and reusing core components is sometimes called government as a platform, and is a principal that sits at the heart of our work.
One of the government design principles is to do the hard work to make things simple. Common components like GOV.UK Notify are a great example of this: countless hours of research, programming and testing for accessibility add up to a component we can just plug in, and we know will work for everyone. And the time we save by using things like GOV.UK Notify can be used to focus on the unique and difficult parts of services that will always require the personal touch or individual attention.
We’d be interested in your thoughts and ideas about how we might identify and improve the common areas across services. And whilst you’re here why not sign up for regular updates from the Service Design team!