Between 2018-2019, Ministry of Justice Digital & Technology set out to list all of the transactional and information-based services that the Ministry of Justice provided to the public. The intention was to gain a proper overview of everything the department offered to the general public.
The team listed all the services in their relevant organisations and then categorised them into four main groups:
- whether the service is digital by default
- not digital by default
- is an information service
- or is a paper-based service
The idea was to fully understand the scope of the citizen-facing services the Ministry of Justice provided and to support how the portfolio team could prioritise the things project teams worked on and to ensure the department’s central strategy was aligned with developing products and services that better serve the general public.
The idea was to help the department to look across the services it provides and not to look at products in isolation. The hope was then that over time to provide a useful means of how the department audits the progress of what still needs to be done in terms of transforming the services that the department provides and gaining a better understanding of end-to-end services across policy areas and different departments.
The data provided an example of the challenges facing government departments looking to prioritise and transform the digitisation of long tails of information and paper-based services in the complexity of a fast moving political and economic landscape.
Even with a large backlog of paper-based services that need to be transformed into digital services, digital transformation must always balance proper service design, the understanding of qualitative and quantitative user data and departmental policy and business prioritisation, with digitising services at scale and at pace.
More recently other government departments have followed suit in an attempt to understand all of the products and services that they are responsible for delivering and maintaining but managing these lists often proves hard to maintain and it is difficult to establish who the best person to be responsible. And related to this there is now a community maintained list of government services that lists over 400 services.