Government Digital Service launches

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced that it is now open for business.

Speaking at the launch of the GDS, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "The GDS will be the centre for digital government in the UK.

"It will transform the way people access government information by using digital technology to deliver services that put the user first and give them the smartest and most cost-effective service possible."

Digital projects that have so far been undertaken by GDS include the creation of the E-Petitions website and the development of a Tech City App.

Mike Bracken, digital director, revealed that GDS created the E-Petitions service in just six weeks, including procurement time. So far nearly three million people have signed e-petitions, costing the government less than 1p per use.

Meanwhile, the Tech City App was created with Number 10 and Tech City company mobileroadie, in place of producing a policy paper for Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Tech City last month.

Bracken said that the creation of GDS has allowed different government departments to collaborate more easily, for instance, on identity assurance. The government has provided £10 million in funding to work across departments to deliver identity assurance solutions for digital transactions.

"The identity team can now work with platform developers to devise future IDA (Identity Assurance) services.

"We have already hosted colleagues from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Ministry of Justice (MoJ)/Office of the Public Guardian and Constitutional Affairs, and continue to help them devise future digital services," he said.

Meanwhile, Bracken claims the GDS has helped to promote digital skills in government.

"Creating an environment for technology leaders to flourish is one of our key principles, and we are starting to live up to it," said Bracken.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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