Digital Government and e-Government Archives

This is a living, curated list of documents and links related to UK Government e-government and digital government initiatives since the early 1990s. More will be added as and when time allows. Wherever possible the original document is available for online viewing or download from this site for convenience. Some links are provided where documents are not applicable. All copyrights acknowledged.


There’s a lot of content here. To make some of it easier to navigate and digest, I’ve pulled together a couple of summaries on two particular topics. These are:

Online identity – UK Government initiatives around federated identity, trusted third parties and identity providers since 1997
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Shared government platforms – UK Government initiatives since 1994 to implement shared, cross-government platforms
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The last 20+ years have seen a remarkably consistent set of grand announcements, as the sample below — taken and updated from our book, Digitizing Government — shows:

YearPolicySource
1996“[technology will] provide better and more efficient services to businesses and to citizens, improve the efficiency and openness of government administration, and secure substantial cost savings for the taxpayer”Government Direct
[Conservative administration]
1999“[technology will help us by making] sure that public service users, not providers, are the focus, by matching services more closely to people’s lives … delivering public services that are high quality and efficient.”Modernising Government
[Labour administration]
2009“[technology will allow] us to give citizens what they now demand: public services responsive to their needs and driven by them … it provides us with the means to deliver public services in a way that maintains their quality but brings down their cost.”Putting the frontline first: smarter government
[Labour administration]
2011“[technology will enable us to] deliver better public services for less cost. ICT can release savings by increasing public sector productivity and efficiency … [and] … will enable the delivery of public services in very different ways to the past”Government ICT Strategy
[Coalition administration]
2013“… technology can be a powerful tool and reshape how government and citizens interact with each other … We must see digital government as a way of empowering people – service users and public sector employees, citizens and consumers – and enabling cost reduction in the process.”Digital Britain 2015
[Labour, opposition party, announcement]
2017“By harnessing digital to build and deliver services, the government can transform the relationship between citizen and state … putting more power in the hands of citizens and being more responsive to their needs … [we will] assemble services more quickly and at lower cost.”Government Transformation Strategy
[Conservative administration]

1918

Haldane cover

Report of the Machinery of Government Committee. (“The Haldane Report”). Ministry of Reconstruction. HMSO, 1918. Okay, so this report from 1918 appeared well before the remainder of documents on this site — but it raises issues that remain relevant today, namely how government might better be configured to work most effectively. Technology has provided us with options to completely rethink the configuration of government that simply didn’t exist at the time of Haldane’s Report.


1992–1997 (Conservative administration)

Information Superhighways. 22 December 1994. Research Paper. House of Commons Library. “This paper explains what information superhighways are and describes recent policy developments in the UK, Europe and the United States.”

The CCTA cross-government platform – from 1994 onwards it brought together information from across the public sector

The UK National Information Infrastructure. May 1995. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Explores the technical and policy issues related to the “UK National Information Infrastructure (NII)”.

UK Teleworking. June 1995. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Explores the extent of teleworking in the UK, its advantages and disadvantages (including transport, energy and property effects) and related policy issues.

The Government IT Strategy. June 1996. Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. Annex E. Describes the background and the underlying principles of the government IT strategy. “Ministers have decided that Government must respond to its customers’ needs through the strategic use of IT. The strategy which is proposed will effect a fundamental transformation in the way Government provides its services.” 

Government Direct. A Prospectus for the Electronic Delivery of Government Services. 1996. Cabinet Office. This was an ambitious, interactive green paper, made available on a CD-ROM (see below). “The purpose of this Green Paper is to explain the Government’s vision of what is possible, and to start a debate which will help everybody to get the most out of this new phase of public service reform, by ensuring that the new forms of service are aligned as far as is practicable to what the public wants.”

An introductory screen from the 1996 interactive CD-ROM 'Government Direct'
An introductory screen from the 1996 interactive CD-ROM ‘Government Direct’

Below are the images from the front cover of the CD-ROM, the inside forward by the Minister, and the gatefold providing more details including of where to send comments.

The interactive CD-ROM enabled users to type in their own comments and notes, which could later be sent back as part of the consultation.

GD with notes being typed

1997–2010 (Labour administration)

Smartcards and e-signatures were evaluated in late 1997. This Smartcard News from December 1997 contains details about pilot work (the Intelligent forms project (“iForms”) by the UK Government and NatWest. Related work took place with Royal Mail Viacode and Barclays Endorse digital certificates.

The initial iForms project took numerous paper forms related to registering for self employment and turned them into a single smart (“intelligent”) online form, significantly reducing the amount of repetitive data previously required from the user. The data from it was parsed and sent to three different departments – Inland Revenue, HM Customs and Excise, and the Department of Social Security’s Contributions Agency. 

These 1990’s programmes provide the earliest examples of the UK government using third party identity providers – NatWest and Barclays bank and Royal Mail – for secure access to online public services, work that is still in progress some 20 years later.

By April 1997, the UK’s central website for government services had won multiple awards, including for allowing “users to effortlessly locate an enormous range of UK government information and services”

Electronic Government. February 1998. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Explores how technology might change the nature of government, and the pace of change.

Electronic Government: the view from the queue. Comprehensive research into potential customer take-up of online government services. October 1998. Cabinet Office. “The aim of the programme of research was to explore the extent to which individuals and those responsible for running small businesses were likely to adopt electronic means of interaction with government (or what they perceive to be government). The report maps out the factors likely to influence take-up, based on a variety of research inputs, and indicates how different parts of the population view ‘electronic government’. It also identifies obstacles likely to undermine the propensity to adopt new methods.”

Modernising Government. March 1999. Cabinet Office. “Modernising Government is … a clear statement by the Government of what government is for. Not government for those who work in government; but government for people – people as consumers, people as citizens … we will make sure that government services are better – that they reflect real lives and deliver what people really want.”

Electronic Service Delivery of Government Services. Progress Report — Electronic Government 25% Target. May 1999. Cabinet Office. [Microsoft Word document]. Provides an update on progress with making services “electronic”: “In October 1997 the Prime Minister announced a target for government that ‘within five years, a quarter of dealings with Government can be done by a member of the public electronically through their telephone, TV or computer’.”

Portal Feasibility Study. 29th June 1999. PA Consulting Group for the Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. An important document, setting out the approach to moving services online that predominated during the period from around 2000-2010. Providing a “single, integrated means of access to Government information and services. This will allow information from different sources within Government to be brought together at one point, allowing the creation of new “joined-up” services with a standardised presentation.”

e-commerce@its.best.uk. September 1999. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report, Cabinet Office. “A strategy to make the UK the world’s best environment for electronic commerce.” 

Professional Policy Making for the Twenty First Century. September 1999. Report by the Strategic Policy Making Team, Cabinet Office. Explores what needs to be done to deliver “changes to policy making to ensure that policies are strategic, outcome focused, joined up (if necessary), inclusive, flexible, innovative and robust.” 

Electronic Delivery of Government Services. Progress Report. Electronic Government 25% Target. November 1999. Cabinet Office. The second six-monthly report detailing progress with the move of government services online.

Working together to deliver Information Age Government. Speech by Rt Hon Mo Mowlam MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office. 24 November 1999. Copy of the speech given by Mo Mowlam at the Information Age Conference in November 1999. “IT is not an end in itself, but a means to providing much more responsive and accessible services, so that in the 21st century Britain will be a better place to live in, work in, and do business with.”

Government on the Web. December 1999. National Audit Office. “This study aims to establish a baseline for monitoring the future progress of government on the Web.”

Smart Card Framework Version 1.0. December 1999. Central IT Unit (CITU), Cabinet Office. “Smart cards, both single application and multi-application, are potentially an important enabler in encouraging the development of electronic commerce. All government departments should therefore follow this guidance if planning to use smart cards in the delivery of public services, and other public sector bodies are strongly recommended to do so. This will help achieve maximum economies of scale and convenience for card users.”

Authentication Framework 1.0. This is the original UK Government authentication framework. It establishes the standards for authentication of online dealings with providers of public sector services, covering more broadly the scope of what is now Good Practice Guide 44 and Good Practice Guide 45 (i.e. proofing of identity and quality of credential used for authentication). It introduces the concept of levels of assurance (numbered 0 through 3 in this version, renumbered as 1 through 4 in later updates). It illustrates the intent of the UK government to have third party identity providers (IDPs) as part of the overall landscape for access to online public services. Later revisions, referenced below, became known as the “Registration and Authentication Framework”.

Overview of UK Government authentication frameworks, 1999-2020

UK Government Portal: Change of Address Demonstrator Design. January 2000. Compaq, for the Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. Describes the design of the Change of Address service, including the use of third party identity and authentication services provided by Barclays Bank and Royal Mail.

Assessing Attitudes to the Change of Address Function. January 2000. Government Portal Research. MORI for the Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. [Microsoft Word document]. “The research had three specific objectives: Reactions to the concept of transacting with government electronically; To test the usability of the prototype web site; and to trial three separate authentication processes, to uncover which users preferred.”

Wiring it up. Whitehall’s management of cross-cutting policies and services. January 2000. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report. Cabinet Office. “Many of the biggest challenges facing Government do notfit easily into traditional Whitehall structures … The report sets out a comprehensive package of measures to improve and modernise the way we handle cross-cutting issues. It looks at the role of leadership; improving the way policy is formulated and implemented; the need for new skills; budgetary arrangements, and the role of external audit and scrutiny. In particular, it highlights the importance of putting in place the right structure of accountability and incentives for cross-cutting working.These measures form a blue-print for action.”

CITU Portal Demonstrator. Lessons Learned. 2000. Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. [Microsoft Word document]. Identifies a series of issues to help re-risk future phases of the programme, spanning project management, customer service, security and departmental issues.

Government to speed up introduction of online services. Prime Minister’s announcement, Thursday 30 March 2000. Sets out a revised target of all government services being online by 2005 rather than 2008.

e-government. A Strategic Framework for Public Services in the Information Age. April 2000. Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. This paper “focuses on better services for citizens and businesses and more effective use of the Government’s information resources. Implementing it will create an environment for the transformation of government activities by the application of e-business methods throughout the public sector. The strategy challenges all public sector organisations to innovate, and it challenges the centre of government to provide the common infrastructure which is needed to achieve these goals. e-government has four guiding principles: building services around citizens’ choices; making government and its services more accessible; social inclusion; using information better.”

Security Framework. Version 1.0 April 2000. This document presents the framework for the expression of security requirements for Information Age Government (IAG) services. “Version 1.0 of the Security Framework details the security requirements for Information Age Government  services. The scope of this document includes functional security requirements appropriate for the delivery of services by, and on behalf of, government. It is applicable to those systems responsible for the delivery of services to citizens and businesses. These security requirements are also applicable to the delivery of government services by third party organisations. The security requirements expressed in this framework document represent a call for general alignment with best e-commerce practice, to which government believes it must itself conform.” I’ve only been able to locate a text only version to date, on the Wayback Machine. Based on this, I have re-created the original document in a more readable format which is also available here. I’m still seeking a PDF or Word original if anyone ever comes across one.

CCTA Internet Services Brochure. 10 May 2000. CCTA. A brochure setting out the internet services available from the CCTA, including the provision of a style guide and “a single point of entry for people who want to access government information.” It includes facilities such as “Forms” (which “allows users to dynamically generate a form, or group of forms, for members of the public to complete via a web browser) and “Talk” (which provides a “genuinely interactive tool through which either open (the general public) or closed (named groups of people) discussion can take place”

e-Europe 2002. An Information Society For All. Action Plan. 19-20 June 2000. Council of the European Union / Commission of the European Communities. Sets out “…a comprehensive eEurope Action Plan …. using an open method of co-ordination based on the benchmarking of national initiatives, combined with the Commission’s recent eEurope initiative as well as its Communication ‘Strategies for jobs in the Information Society’. “

e.gov. Electronic Government Services for the 21st Century. September 2000. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report. Cabinet Office. “This report sets out a radical and compelling direction for government electronic services. Services will be joined up, delivered through a range of channels, and backed up by advice and support. Service delivery will be opened to the private and voluntary sectors, so that there will be a mixed economy of electronic delivery. Competition between providers will stimulate innovation and drive up service quality.”

UK online Annual Report. September 2000. Cabinet Office. The first annual report setting out progress with UK Online—”a major initiative to ensure that everyone in the UK who wants it will have access to the Internet, and to make the UK one of the world’s leading knowledge economies.”

Extract from Hansard 17 November 2000 clarifying that the Central IT Unit (CITU) was subsumed into the Office of the e-Envoy in July 2000 and renamed the e-government group.

e-government Authentication Framework. December 2000.  Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This paper is concerned with the authentication of citizens and businesses seeking to access government services electronically. It applies in circumstances where government needs to have trust in the identity of those it is dealing with to ensure that there is no breach of privacy or confidentiality, or other harm. The Framework provides for those cases where anonymous or pseudonymous access is also acceptable.”

Contents of the Authentication Framework of 2000

Citizens First. Modernising Government Annual Report. 2000. Cabinet Office. The first report on progress with the Modernising Government programme. “Good government need not be big government. Rather, it is about working together in ways that haven’t happened before. Central government working in partnership with town halls, unions and the private and voluntary sectors to deliver the best possible services. It is not about dogma, it’s about what works. This applies to joined-up government too.”

Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action. Review of Major Government IT Projects. 2000. Cabinet Office. “A change of approach is needed. Rather than think of IT projects, the public sector needs to think in terms of projects to change the way Government works, of which new IT is an important part. Our recommendations aim to achieve this change.”

Security. Framework for Information Age Government. 2000. Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. “The scope of this document includes functional security requirements appropriate for the delivery of services by, and on behalf of, government. It is applicable to those systems responsible for the delivery of services to citizens and businesses.”

Privacy and data sharing. Framework for Information Age Government. 2000. Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office. Sets out the plan to “establish a working group with a view to developing guidelines no later than March 2001. The terms of reference will reflect the data protection principles.”

Guidelines for UK government websites. Framework for senior managers. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. 2001. Sets out the “top 10 guidelines” for government websites, covering aspects such as “Engaging, accessible, usable”, “Working together”, “Services for the citizen” and ‘Building trust”.

ukonline.gov.uk and Government Gateway. An extract from the e-Envoy’s monthly report to the Prime Minister from 5th February 2001 reporting on the successful soft launch of the Citizen Portal ukonline.gov.uk and the Government Gateway – described as a “… piece of secure infrastructure with intelligent routing and authentication …”, delivered “… in a compressed timescales, using rapid deployment methods to build a fully functional system in 3 months.”

Groundbreaking new project to deliver secure internet transactions. Cabinet Office, 7 February 2001. Press release about the Government Gateway—federated third party identity and cross-government interoperability of transactions through XML and digital signatures.

UKonline.gov.uk: Connecting you with government information and services. Overview. February 2001, Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Does what it says on a tin—a useful snapshot of progress with the UK Online programme in the context of Modernising Government.

e-Government Metadata Framework. May 2001. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This policy framework has agreed that a metadata standard, based on Dublin Core, should be applied across government. It has also agreed to initiate the Pan-Government Thesaurus project, which will build up a list of keywords to be used in the implementation of search engines and the categorisation of information across government. “

Electronic Records Management. Version 2.0. July 2001. Public Record Office. “Provides a framework and a set of milestones for departments and agencies to move towards full electronic records management … encourages the adoption of cross-government standards for metadata and interoperability to support greater commonality and inter-departmental working in electronic document and records management, and in the sharing and exchange of electronic records between government systems”

Royal Mail ViaCode becomes first trusted service provider to apply for t-scheme approval 17 September 2001. Press release noting that the Royal Mail, in addition to being a trusted third party identity provider to the Government Gateway, has committed to achieve full t-Scheme approval by the end of the year.

Government Gateway Overview. (Microsoft Powerpoint). November 2001. Office of the E-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Summaries the various platforms of the Government Gateway spanning Registration and Enrolment (identification and authentication), Transactions, Payments and Secure Mail. Mentions the use of two tScheme accredited identity providers, the British Chambers of Commerce and Equifax.

From ‘Government Gateway Overview’, November 2001

Registration and authentication. E-government strategy framework policy and guidelines. 2 November 2001. Cabinet Office. “This document builds on the e-government security policy that sets out the e-government security requirements. It specifically addresses those security requirements related to the provision of registration and authentication services to support access to e-government services.”

e-Enabling the Voluntary and Community Sectors. November 2001. Hall Aitken on behalf of the Active Communities Unit, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Office of the e-Envoy. “This study was commissioned by the Active Communities Unit, the Department for Education and Skills and the Office of the E-Envoy to help inform policy development on ICT-related matters for the voluntary and community sectors.”

Wiring it up. Progress report. 2001. Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. “… this document reports progress in putting the right frameworks in place to drive forward joined-up working.”

e-Services Development Framework. 5 December 2001. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The e-Service Development Framework provides a structure for developing semantic specifications and standards for e-Services. An e-Service is any electronic service involving interoperability between computer systems. It includes, but is not limited to, electronic data interchange and messaging services. The focus is on preserving the information content so that it can be used by the information receiver without loss or change of meaning … The benefits of good standards-based e-services accrue to all stakeholders –users, suppliers, out-sourcers, government IT departments and the general public. They include: reduced duplication of data and data entry; risk reduction and avoidance of duplication of development through re-use of technical patterns, components and resources; easier system integration and reduced maintenance.”

Summary of the UK e-Government Programme. March 2002. From “White Paper: 21st Century Literacy in a Convergent Media World“, Bertelsmann Foundation and AOL Time Warner Foundation. “The UK is a true forerunner in establishing citizen-oriented e-Government programs … A key part of the UK Online strategy is the ukonline.gov.uk citizen portal (launched in February 2000), providing a single point of entry to a wide range of government information and services. Users of the UK Online portal can customize the home page to create direct links to the services they frequently use. The system can also remind people about changes in services or important dates, such as the need to renew TV licenses or car tax. Content is organized around the needs of the citizen, to make dealing with government as easy and seamless as possible. Building on recommendations in the Modernizing Government White Paper, information is focused around ‘Life Episodes’, which enable the user to access all the information they need about a particular event without having to understand the workings of government or departmental delivery structures.”

Privacy and data-sharing. The way forward for public services. April 2002. A Performance and Innovation Unit Report, Cabinet Office. “The report concludes that there is great potential to make better use of personal information to deliver benefits to individuals and to society, including through increased data-sharing. But these benefits will only be realised if people trust the way that public services handle their personal data.”

Social Capital. A discussion paper. April 2002. Performance and Innovation Unit, Cabinet Office. “This discussion paper is an analysis of the literature and evidence on social capital. It is not a statement of government policy. The discussion of policy implications is intended only to facilitate constructive debate and improved policy design in future.”

e-Government Metadata Standard. e-GMS. 1.0. April 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “Joined-up government needs joined-up information systems. The e-Government Metadata Standard lays down the elements, refinements and encoding schemes to be used by government officers when creating metadata for their information resources or designing search systems for information systems. The e-GMS is needed to ensure maximum consistency of metadata across public sector organisations.”

Better Public Services through e-government. 4 April 2002. National Audit Office. “This report considers (i) departments’ progress in achieving e-government; (ii) the risks that need to be managed; and (iii) sets out the benefits of  e-government with examples of how they can be achieved.”

Government on the Web II. 25 April 2002. National Audit Office. “This report focuses specifically on how government organisations have changed the way that they plan and provide Internet-based services and interactions since 1999. We look at in-depth case studies of Internet-based services in two Whitehall departments, HM Customs and Excise and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. And we analyse central policy and initiatives undertaken principally by the Office of the e-Envoy.”

e-Government Interoperability Framework. Part One: Framework. Version 4.0. 25 April 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The Framework prescribes the technical specifications and policies that will act as the foundation of our egovernment strategy and help get the UK online. These standards will allow information to flow seamlessly across the public sector and provide citizens and businesses with better access to government services. In addition, by adopting Internet and World Wide Web standards, the Framework aligns government with the rest of industry and serves as a basis for reducing the costs and risks associated with carrying out major IT projects.”

Percentage of government services available online. April 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. A summary graph showing progress in the UK relative to other countries.

Percentage of UK government services online in 2002 compared with other countries

Government Gateway Update. May 2002. A snapshot of what was changing on the cross-government platform, covering the Payments, Transactions, Authentication and Authorisation and Secure Messaging platforms.

What is the Government Gateway? June 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This paper provides a brief introduction to the Government Gateway. The Gateway provides a major role in ensuring successful delivery of the UK’s e-government initiatives.”

The Local Authority Guide to Government Gateway e-Government Services. June 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Outlines the local authority specific support available via the Government Gateway.

A Brief Overview of the Government Gateway. June 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. A brief summary of the Government Gateway platforms and key features.

A Developer Overview of Government Gateway Services. June 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Insight into Government Gateway platforms for software developers.

The Government Gateway. June 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. A more detailed document explaining the platform’s functionality and purpose.

Open Source Software use within UK Government. 15th July 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The UK … has been … mandating open standards and specifications in its e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) and allowing market driven products to support these. It is now considered necessary to have a more explicit policy on the use of OSS within UK Government and this document details that policy.”

In the service of democracy. A consultation paper on a policy for electronic democracy. 15 July 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “Information and communication technology (ICT) provides a means by which public participation can be increased, and we hope that with an active government policy the potential benefits can be maximised. e-Democracy offers new ways of participating and seeks to complement rather than replace existing structures. The aim must be to give individuals more choice about how they can participate in the political process. We want to ensure that the new technologies are enabling not excluding. Whilst ICT can improve access to democracy, without Government action the technologies themselves could become new barriers for those already excluded. Technological advance needs to be accompanied by strategies to improve access and understanding. The Government approaches the subject with high ambitions but with realistic objectives. The strategy set out in this paper will succeed if it provides the technical basis for an improved political dialogue between public and Government.”

Security Architecture. e-Government Strategy. Version 2.0. September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This security architecture supports the development of security for the UKonline services by providing illustrations and guidance on how the security framework and related documents would be applied for particular illustrative on-line business scenarios at various levels of trust with currently available technologies and processes. The security architecture is applicable to those components and systems that implement UKonline services, the government gateway and interfaces with government back-office systems.”

Assurance. e-Government Strategy. Version 2.0. September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The Assurance Framework applies to technical (hardware and software applications) and nontechnical (physical, personal and procedural) measures used to provide electronic transactions or services carried out by or on behalf of government bodies. It is intended to ensure that all government bodies, and organisations providing service on their behalf, deliver the highest possible quality of service to the citizen and business by using well-designed and well-operated hardware and software applications.”

Network Defence. e-Government Strategy. Version 2.0. September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This document is concerned with the security measures required to ensure that the plant, stored data and other assets of e-Government services are properly protected against malicious and inadvertent electronic attack where domains are connected together. This framework applies to all connections of government IT systems to other business domains within or without government for the provision of e-Government services.”

Trust Services. e-Government Strategy Policy Framework and Guidelines. Version 3.0, September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This document is intended to set out a number of levels of confidence in trust services used to support e-Government transactions … the trust services framework document is concerned with the use of the authenticated electronic identity of a user to establish mutual trust and commitment relationships between parties to an e-Government transaction. The trust services enable the parties to determine who originated the transaction, whether the transaction received matches the transaction sent, and whether the transaction was accepted by the recipient.” 

Registration and Authentication. e-Government Strategy Policy Framework and Guidelines. Version 3.0, September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Addresses the means and measures required in order to ensure that a user (whether a client or a government user) has been correctly granted access to e-Government services. This is achieved by establishing an appropriate level of confidence in the real-world identity of a user requesting access rights, issuing credentials to be used in subsequent authentication, and validation of the credentials when the user interacts with an e-Government service (both as a client in a transaction and in the context of service provision). 

Channels framework. Delivering government services in the new economy. 30th September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This channels framework sets out the strategic direction for public sector organisations to plan and shape the future development of channel strategies for the delivery of electronic services. In particular, it attempts to provide guidance on, and insights into, the decisions required for developing a channel strategy.”

Government priorities in supporting customer needs 2002 (Channels framework)

Business Services. e-Government Strategy Policy Framework and Guidelines. Version 2.0. September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This document is intended to set out a number of trust levels for business services in e-Government transactions. This document is concerned with the correct design, configuration and operation of e-Government business services in order to ensure maximal secure service and information availability. This framework applies to all business services, and the systems that host them, in the e-Government service provision domain. This includes both access systems and back office systems that are involved in the provision of e-Government services.”

Security. e-Government Strategy Framework Policy and Guidelines. Version 4.0. September 2002. UKOnline, Cabinet Office. “This eGovernment Security Framework provides key guidance to service providers wishing to gain the trust and confidence of their users. It lays the foundations for enabling secure services to be provided that will truly transform the way we interact with government.”

Confidentiality. e-Government Strategy Framework Policy and Guidelines. Version 3.0. September 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This document is intended to set out a number of trust levels for confidentiality services in eGovernment transactions.” 

Digital Television. A policy framework for delivering e-government services to the home. Draft for public consultation. October 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The purpose of the consultation is to allow for the wider stakeholder environment within the public sector and industry to comment on the vision for digital television (DTV) within the egovernment space.”

The 31 key services. October 2002. A summary of the 31 top services being prioritised by the Office of the e-Envoy.

Government Gateway, Northern Ireland Presentation. October 2002. [Microsoft Powerpoint} Explains the purpose of the common cross-government platform components.

e-Government Interoperability Framework. Part Two: Technical Policies and Specifications. Version 4.1. 31 October 2002. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This section of the e-GIF defines the minimum1 set of technical policies and specifications that conform to the policies defined in Part 1. The current specification for the e-GIF is given below and covers the areas of interconnectivity, data integration, content management and information access via multiple channels. Each area is presented in two parts, in the first the key technical policies are defined for technical standards to meet, the second comprises a table containing the specification and includes version numbers and notes.”

UKOnline government services 2002

The World’s Most Effective Policies for the e-Economy. International e-Economy Benchmarking. 19 November 2002. Booz, Allen, Hamilton. A report that explores how successful the UK Government has been in areas such as e-commerce. Amongst its findings, it notes that “The UK has been in the vanguard of developing common IT architectures, and was ahead of most of the benchmark group in developing the IT core to enable secure transactions with citizens … [However] If the UK government is to achieve targets around online service delivery and e-procurement then significant progress will need to be made in standardising systems between departments. This investment need is particularly acute at the level of local government.

Government Gateway. Presentation to the Caribbean Islands Delegation. (Microsoft Powerpoint). November 2002. e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. Overview of the current state of play of common platforms and services as of 2002.

e-Democracy. Report of Research Findings. 23 December 2002. COI Communications, on behalf of the Office of the e-Envoy. “This report presents findings from a project conducted by Creative Research on behalf of COI Communications and the Office of the e-Envoy, looking at the impact of proposals for e-democracy. The government intends to look into ways in which information and communication technology (ICT) could help to support the democratic process. A set of policy proposals has been developed, with three key objectives; to facilitate, broaden and deepen participation in the democratic process. There are two separate but linked strands to the policy proposals: e-Participation – using ICT to develop new channels through which people can participate effectively in the democratic process between elections;  e-Voting – utilising ICT to provide new methods of casting votes in elections or other ballots under statutory control. This also covers activities that underpin the electoral process, such as registration and absent voter application.”

The Cabinet Office’s e-Democracy website in December 2002

In the service of democracy. Your Response. Undated (~ January 2003). Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This report does not attempt to provide a detailed analysis of the responses received but rather seeks to determine whether the Government has achieved what it set out to do at the beginning of the consultation [into e-democracy]. It also provides some limited early views on the themes that are emerging from the responses, although it should be borne in mind that these may change with more detailed analysis.”

HMG’s Minimum Requirements for the Verification of the Identity of Individuals. Version 2.0. January 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This note describes HMG’s minimum requirements for the validation and verification of an individual’s identity as part of the process of issuing a digital certificate or a PIN or Password for use with egovernment services.”

HMG’s Minimum Requirements for the Verification of the Identity of Organisations. Version 2.0. January 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This note describes HMG’s minimum requirements for the validation and verification of an organisation’s identity as part of the process of issuing a digital certificate or a PIN or Password for use with e-government services.” 

Central e-Government Products: Current and Planned. January 2003. e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. [Microsoft Powerpoint]. As the title suggests, this provides an overview of existing products/platforms and those being piloted or planned.

Towards an agreed cross-government services and information architecture. Working document, April 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Describes “… work towards an overall cross-government architecture that supports intermediaries, back office interoperability, and smart use of common services and components.”

The UK Government’s web service based component / platform architecture, 2003

Policy Framework for a mixed economy in the supply of e-government services. A consultation document. May 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The purpose of the consultation is to allow stakeholders in the public, private and voluntary sector, as well as citizens and businesses to comment on the vision for the involvement of private and voluntary sector intermediaries in the delivery of electronic government services.”

e-Government Metadata Standard. e-GMS. Version 2.0. 16 May 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “The e-Government Metadata Standard (e-GMS) lays down the elements, refinements and encoding schemes to be used by government officers when creating metadata for their information resources or designing search interfaces for information systems. The e-GMS is needed to ensure maximum consistency of metadata across public sector organisations.”

Payments Engine. July 2003. Unattributed (via Office of the e-Envoy). An overview of the cross-government payments platform.

Quality Framework for UK Government Website Design: Usability issues for government websites. July 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. July 2003. “This document … seeks to provide Government web managers with specific guidance around usability issues relevant to public sector websites and in particular awareness of issues that need to be addressed under the relevant human centred design standards.”

Measuring the Expected Benefits of e-Government. 29th August 2003. HMT. “… the government’s record on IT projects is not good and the drive towards egovernment also comes with risks, so it is important that delivery organisations are clear about the benefits they expect from their investment in electronic delivery. This document is to help government departments and other public sector bodies think about these benefits: how they can quantify them; how they will realise them; and how they will identify the associated risks when they are developing their business cases.” 

Invest to Save Budget (ISB) Pilots Product Guide. (Microsoft Powerpoint). Version 1.0, 3rd October 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. Part of the “build once, use many times” approach designed to accelerate online government service delivery—”to identify and develop common re-usable components and services that accelerate and assist with e-government delivery”.

Forms Pilot (Forms Engine, Forms Store). Specification of Requirements. (Microsoft Word document). 3rd October 2003. Office of the e-Envoy, Cabinet Office. “This document represents a high level definition of the scope and functionality required for the Forms Engine and Forms Store (known collectively as the Forms Pilot). The Forms Pilot has been initiated in response to the common requirement across government Departments and local authorities to provide online forms, both as initially published blank forms as well as the storage of those forms during the process of completion by a user.”

Interoperability Presentations. September 2004. e-Government Unit, Cabinet Office. A presentation at a workshop between several countries setting out the approach and state of play.

Open Source Software use within UK Government. 28 October 2004. e-Government Unit, Cabinet Office. “The UK Government has supported this EC initiative [“to promote the use of open source software in the public sector”] by mandating open standards and specifications in its e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) and through the publication and updating of this OSS Policy. The OSS Policy should be read in conjunction with current advice and guidance on procurement matters from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).”

Improving IT Procurement. 2 November 2004. National Audit Office. “The impact of the Office of Government Commerce’s initiatives on departments and suppliers in the delivery of major IT-enabled projects.”

e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF or eGIF). Version 6.1. 18 March 2005. e-Government Unit, Cabinet Office. “The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) sets out the government’s technical policies and specifications for achieving interoperability and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems coherence across the public sector. The e-GIF defines the essential prerequisites for joined-up and web-enabled government. Adherence to the e-GIF policies and specifications is mandatory. They set the underlying infrastructure, freeing up public sector organisations so that they can concentrate on serving the customer through building value-added information and services. It will be for the organisations themselves to consider how their business processes can become more effective by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by increased interoperability.”

How Inland Revenue’s online self-assessment service looked by early 2005

UK Government Gateway Frequently Asked Questions. [Microsoft Word] . 5 April 2005. e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. A wide ranging series of questions and answers about the Government Gateway, what it is, how it works, etc.

Engaging the community in e-government. A briefing paper from the Strategic Support Unit. (Undated) 2005. Improvement and Development Agency. “The paper explores key questions related to the benefits of community engagement and its role in supporting the implementation of local e-government, and promoting effective ways of: communicating with citizens; improving the quality, relevance and delivery of services; involving local people in local government; using technology to expand and improve community consultation.”

Interactive Guide to Connected Government. [Microsoft Word]. 19th August 2005. e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. Provides a comprehensive overview of the e-Delivery Team’s (EDT) “products, services and solutions. With this version, and in all subsequent releases, we have included our partner services and solutions to present you with as comprehensive a view as possible of our approach to Common Infrastructure.”

Common Infrastructure – Payments Engine. 2005. e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. A flyer for the pan-government payments engine. Describes the Payments platform: “The Payment Engine is a pan-Government facility that enables any public sector body to connect to the Merchant Acquirer of their choice for the collection of on-line payments by debit or credit card.”

Time to claim net benefits. 29th September 2005. Article by Michael Cross of the Guardian referring to Rotherham council’s integrated welfare system. “Instead of filling in the usual 25-page paper form, [Dean] sat in front of a screen and, with the help of an adviser, answered a short set of questions targeted at her personal circumstances. After signing the application electronically, it was automatically routed to the council’s computers. At the same time, the system checked whether Dean was eligible for 60 other state benefits.”

Transformational Government. Enabled by Technology. November 2005. Cabinet Office. This “strategy was directed to provide overall technology leadership in three key areas: (1) The transformation of public services for the benefit of citizens, businesses, taxpayers and front-line staff. (2) The efficiency of the corporate services and infrastructure of government organisations, thus freeing resources for the front-line. (3) The steps necessary to achieve the effective delivery of technology for government.”

Transformational Government. Implementation Plan. November 2005. Cabinet Office. Sets out how the Transformational Government strategy (see above) would be implemented.

The cross-government Notifications platform, Alerts Online, supporting notifications via email, fax, SMS and secure mail (~2005 onwards)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council leads the e-volution of e-benefits. 2006. A paper reviewing the development of integrated welfare benefits through policy automation (as mentioned in the 29th September Guardian article referenced in ‘Time to claim net benefits” above)

Payment Engine Business Overview. 5th July 2006. Cabinet Office. “The purpose of this document is to provide Departments and Local Authorities with a detailed understanding of how the Government Gateway Payment Engine (GGPE) works – but at a business rather than technical level. It describes the core functionality of the GGPE and the end to end process for a Department taking on-line payments using GGPE.”

Liberty Alliance Awards: The UK Cabinet Office Government Gateway Project. October 18th 2006. Presentation setting out why the Government Gateway was chosen for the Liberty Alliance Awards including that “The Gateway architecture and the authentication protocols include the means to preserve the privacy of citizens as they authenticate to different service providers.”

Service transformation: A better service for citizens and businesses, a better deal for the taxpayer. December 2006. Sir David Varney. HMT. “This report focuses on the opportunities for change in the channels through which services are delivered to citizens and businesses. Over the next ten years, there is an opportunity to provide better public services for citizens and businesses and to do so at a lower cost to the taxpayer. Realising these outcomes will require citizen and business focused transformation that should see citizens having single points of contact with government to meet a range of their needs and businesses having to provide information only once to government. In addition, providing joinedup services designed around the needs of the citizen or business will yield efficiency savings by reducing duplication across the public sector. This ought to be the public service aspiration for Government.”

The Government Gateway. UK Best Practice on Infrastructure and Identity Management. April 2007. E-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. Provides an overview of the common infrastructure and platforms developed for public sector use.

Preliminary Study on Mutual Recognition of eSignatures for eGovernment applications
NATIONAL PROFILE UK
. April 2007. IDABC. European e-Government Services. An overview of the UK and its usage of eSignatures / digital certificates. “… for most Government Departments or agencies there is no need to be concerned with interoperability of digital certificates as the [central] portal [the Government Gateway] handles the authentication at login. It also means that there can be a simple policy for testing and accepting certificates from different CAs [Certificate Authorities] – they only need to test their compatibility to the portal and then provide access to all current or future applications that provide access via the Government Gateway.”

The Power of Information. An independent review by Ed Mayo and Tom Steinberg. June 2007. “… the report recommends a strategy in which government: welcomes and engages with users and operators of user-generated sites in pursuit of common social and economic objectives; supplies innovators that are re-using government-held information with the information they need, when they need it, in a way that maximises the long-term benefits for all citizens; and protects the public interest by preparing citizens for a world of plentiful (and sometimes unreliable) information, and helps excluded groups take advantage.”

Identity management, trust and security online. A National Computing Centre Research Report. November 2007. The report takes a look at the state of identity and identity assurance, including the role of the Government Gateway and other initiatives.

Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance. March 2008. Report by Sir James Crosby for the Chancellor. Sets out details and ideas on “how the public and private sectors might work together in identity (ID) management for their mutual benefit and that of citizens and consumers.”

Employee Authentication Services (EAS). A potential pan-government service. [Microsoft Powerpoint]. May 2008. (Presentation). CIO Group, Department for Children, Schools and Families. Sets out “A scalable, sustainable and secure solution for local government employees to access sensitive information in central government systems” by re-using the existing government central platforms, supporting multiple identity providers via an authentication broker.

Data Handling Procedures in Government: Final Report. June 2008. Cabinet Office. “This report describes how Government has now put in place new measures to protect information, to apply across central Government.”

Review of information security at HM Revenue and Customs. June 2008. Kieran Poynter for HMT. “The first part, entitled The Investigation, provides a narrative of how the Child Benefit CDs were lost and a commentary on the causes of the loss. The second part, entitled The Wider Review, is more forward-looking and contains my recommendations on how to improve information security at HMRC.”

The Government Gateway. The Government Gateway in support of local government objectives. 2008. (Microsoft Powerpoint). DWP. An overview of the Government Gateway identification and authentication platform, including its support for multiple levels of authentication across usernames and passwords, digital certificates and EMV chip and PIN cards and the use of OAuth tokens as part of its support for federated identity services.

The UK Government Gateway Remote Authentication. 24th October 2008. (Presentation). DWP. Describes support for remote authentication services, particularly the use of chip and PIN card.

Introducing the National Identity Service. How the Service will work and how it will benefit you. April 2009. Identity and Passport Service, Home Office. “The National Identity Service (NIS) is arriving over the next few years, and eventually everyone will have the opportunity to have an identity card if they choose. This leaflet describes what the National Identity Scheme may look like in the future and how it will benefit you.”

Power of Information Taskforce Report. February 2009. Report prepared for the Cabinet Office. “The report refers specifically to the need for a more liberal approach to the re-use of mapping and address data in the UK based on the evident demand for this type of information. It makes recommendations for Ordnance Survey, the UK’s official mapping agency, to free up their licensing regime in general and to make information available for free, on simple terms, for innovators and the third sector.”

Digital Britain. June 2009. Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Department for Culture, Media and Sport. “… we believe Britain needs an active industrial policy if we are to maximise the benefits from the digital revolution. Doing nothing or leaving everything to the market would leave Britain behind. We need a clear and effective approach which is consistent, ensures full access, provides regulatory certainty, smarter public procurement and shows a readiness to intervene where necessary. The Digital Britain Report does this. It offers a strategic view of the sector, backed by a programme of action.”

Data Centre Strategy, G Cloud and the Apps Store. Mobilisation ‘Strawman’. [Microsoft Powerpoint]. 31 July 2009. Cabinet Office. Sets out a set of shared, re-usable approaches across govenment: A “Pathfinder ‘Applications Store, Applications Development & Infrastructure as a service model’ for new business solutions development in use by several public sector organisations; Data Centre and Apps reuse has begun; Plan in place for Data Centre consolidation, reducing total numbers by an order of magnitude within agreed timescales.”

Authentication. [Microsoft Powerpoint]. 30th September 2009. DWP. Sets out the services available from the Government Gateway cross-government platforms, including the identity and verification hub / broker model and support across a range of authentication levels from ‘bronze’ (Level 1) through to ‘Gold’ (Level 3).

Putting the frontline first: smarter government. December 2009. Chief Secretary to the Treasury. “This plan for reforming government sets out how we will meet these new challenges by strengthening the role of citizens and civic society; recasting the relationships between the centre and the frontline and between the citizen and the State; and streamlining government.”

Government ICT Strategy. Smarter. Cheaper. Greener. December 2009. Cabinet Office. “We need to remove unnecessary overlaps between departments and avoid costly duplication of technology. We need to standardise, simplify and move to a more shared and open world, ensuring that we continue to deliver local solutions to local needs at a price we can all afford … We need to make the way government works smarter, cheaper and greener, and this strategy sets out how we’ll use technology to achieve just that.”

Trust in electronic transactions: an opportunity to change the landscape. December 11th 2009. Paper associated with the workshop run by the Technology Strategy Board at the BIS Conference Centre. “This paper describes the ‘problem’ and ‘vision’ statements to support the Technology Strategy Board competition scheduled for March 2010 for which Directgov will be the challenge holder. It has been produced as an output to a collaborative project by Identity and Passport Service, the Department for Work and Pensions and Directgov to address how citizens will access public services. The paper articulates where these organisations believe innovation and collaboration can deliver significant benefits to both the private and public sectors.”


2010–2015 (Coalition administration)

Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan. June 2010. Cabinet Office. Sets out the departmental priorities, including: “Reduce the cost structure of ICT in central government, while supporting technologies which increase citizen involvement, and our agendas of transparency and localisation.”

Directgov Strategic Review – Executive Summary. 29 September 2010. “… a strategic review of DirectGov to help inform how the government can implement a radical new approach to digital service delivery and communications.”

Directgov 2010 and Beyond: Revolution Not Evolution – Letter from Martha Lane Fox to Francis Maude. 14th October 2010. “There has been a reinvention of the Internet and the behaviour of users in the last few years. Digital services are now more agile, open and cheaper. To take advantage of these changes, government needs to move to a ‘service culture’, putting the needs of citizens ahead of those of departments. This increase in focus on end users should include opening up government transactions so they can be easily delivered by commercial organisations and charities, and putting information wherever people are on the web by syndicating content.”

Francis Maude’s reply to Martha Lane Fox’s letter. 22 November 2010. “I agree in principle with your proposal that over time Government should move to a single domain based on agile shared web services. However, as your report makes clear, this will be challenging for Government and I will need to consult colleagues before we make a final decision about how to proceed. To take these and other cross government issues forward, I intend to set up a new Ministerial Working Group on Digital reporting to the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee.”

Better for Less. How to make Government IT deliver savings. 7th December 2010 (originally published 2009). The network for the post bureaucratic age. “Government must stop believing it is special and use commodity IT services much more widely. It must make the most of its tremendous institutional memory and experience to make IT work together across government and it must innovate at an entirely different scale and price point. This paper explains what has gone wrong and identifies how to enact that strategic change. It does not claim a monopoly of wisdom, but it shows a strategic way forward that will deliver better services at far less cost.” Amongst other things, it proposes the use of Wardley mapping and to build on the API/service-based infrastructure of common platforms.

Government services online using the Government Gateway. A list of of the many public sector services using the Government Gateway identity and authentication services and platforms as of January 2011.

ICT in government. Landscape review. February 2011. National Audit Office. “This report has been prepared to inform the debate about government’s new approach to ICT and describes the changes that are underway. It does not draw a conclusion about the value for money of these initiatives as these are at an early stage.”

Government ICT Strategy. March 2011. Cabinet Office. “This strategy sets outs the strategic direction of central government ICT and the key actions that will be delivered over the next 24 months … All these initiatives will be funded from within existing spending plans. They are all about spending money better, rather than spending more, and will be used as exemplars of the Government’s major projects methodology.”

Government cloud strategy. March 2011. Cabinet Office. “Cloud computing has brought about a step change in the economics and sustainability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled service provision. Government is committed to the adoption of cloud computing and delivering computing resources to users as needed (an on-demand delivery model). By exploiting innovations in cloud computing we will transform the public sector ICT estate into one that is agile, cost effective and environmentally sustainable.”

Greening government ICT strategy. March 2011. Cabinet Office. “The first part of the strategy sets out the approach government will take in greening the ICT across the lifecycle; from manufacture and design through to disposal … The second part of the strategy examines the role that ICT can play to support the greening of government operations.”

Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group. July 2011. GDS online page. Sets out the role of PCAG along with its identity assurance principles. “The UK Government is undertaking a variety of initiatives with implications for individuals regarding the use of their personal data and their privacy. These range from the Identity Assurance Programme to the use of patient records in the NHS, to interdepartmental data sharing and anti-fraud initiatives. The success, credibility and viability of such programmes depend upon their trustworthiness. The Government requires independent review, analysis, guidance and feedback on these initiatives from organisations and individuals with expertise in the areas of privacy and consumer interests.”

Cyber Security in the UK. POSTNOTE Number 389, September 2011. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. “This POSTnote looks at approaches to cyber security in the context of large-scale attacks, with a focus on national infrastructure.”

Government ICT Strategy — Strategic Implementation Plan. October 2011. Cabinet Office. “This Strategic Implementation Plan provides a reference for central government and is designed to be read alongside the Government ICT Strategy.”

Digital Britain One: Shared infrastructure and services for government online. December 2011, National Audit Office. “This report evaluates the value for money of the investment in shared infrastructure and services, and of rationalising and converging the websites that have underpinned government online services. Gateway and the Directgov and Business.gov services provide shared infrastructure and services that have been reused by many public bodies to develop their own online services. This has increased standardisation in government information for public and business users through a collaborative process.”

Key facts on shared infrastructure (from the NAO report ‘Digital Britain One’)

Open Standards Principles. For Software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT specifications. 1 November 2012. Cabinet Office. “The publication of the Open Standards Principles is a fundamental step towards achieving a level playing field for open source and proprietary software and breaking our IT into smaller, more manageable components.”

Government Digital Strategy. November 2012. Cabinet Office. “This strategy sets out how the government will become digital by default … By digital by default, we mean digital services that are so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so whilst those who can’t are not excluded.”

Future Identities. Changing identities in the UK: the next 10 years. Foresight, Government Office for Science. January 2013. “… the Report discusses an emerging trend towards ‘hyper-connectivity’, where mobile technology and the ubiquity of the internet enable people to be constantly connected across many different platforms. Hyper-connectivity is already removing any meaningful distinction between online and offline identities, while also blurring ‘public’ and ‘private’ identities. The trend could also act to increase the pace of change, leading to more dynamic and changeable identities and behaviours.”

The impact of government’s ICT savings initiatives. 23 January 2013. National Audit Office. “As a result of the ICT strategy, we estimate that government has spent £316 million less in 2011-12 than it otherwise would have done. Just under half of this is the result of sustainable long-term savings. Furthermore, government is likely to meet, if not exceed, its targets for savings in 2012-13 from the ICT spend control initiative and the Public Services Network. We conclude these initiatives being led by the Cabinet Office, but involving change in all departments, are starting to have a positive impact on value for money in an area of spend that has previously proved intractable.”

End User Device Strategy: Design and Implementation v1.2. Cabinet Office. February 2013. “This document establishes the technology, commercial and security principles for designing infrastructure to implement the End User Device Strategy.”

End User Device Strategy: Interoperability Standards v1.2. Cabinet Office. February 2013. “This document defines the target architecture for cross­government interoperability standards and interfaces between a government End User Device and backend applications, services, platforms.”

End User Device Strategy: Security Framework and Controls v1.2. Cabinet Office/CESG. February 2013. “This document presents the security framework for End User Devices working with OFFICIAL information, and defines the control for mobile laptops to be used for both OFFICIAL and OFFICIAL­SENSITIVE.”

Digital Britain 2: Putting users at the heart of government’s digital services. March 2013, National Audit Office. “This report is about the government’s strategy for moving public services to ‘digital by default’.”

Managing Identity Online. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Number 434. April 2013. “This POSTnote describes online identity, government projects to secure online access to public services and the issues arising from a more online society.”

Government Service Design Manual. Digital by Default Service Standard. April 2013. GDS, Cabinet Office. “Think differently about digital delivery. Discover what it means to be part of an agile, user-focused and multidisciplinary team, delivering digital services in government … Making a service. Learn about the different phases of service design and get guidance for the phase you’re in now.”

Government Service Design Manual Technology Code of Practice. Office of the Chief Technology Officer, GDS. May 2013. Guidelines for the approval of technology spending.

Government as a Platform. GDS Service Design Manual online page. May 2013. Later deleted. Sets out the “move to a platform-based model”.

“The move to a platform-based model”, GDS May 2013 (content later deleted)

Resources for chief technology officers. Help and guidance for transforming technology. Office of the Chief Technology Officer, GDS, Cabinet Office. May 2013. (From the Wayback Machine due to its later removal from the GDS site). Sets out guidance for transforming technology, from creating a culture that supports change, government as a platform, open data, spending controls, etc.

Government guidance for transforming technology, May 2013

Digital by Default Service Standard. Government Service Design Manual. May 2013. GDS, Cabinet Office. “The Government Digital Strategy committed the government to ensuring all new or redesigned digital services meet this standard from April 2014. To do this, teams must demonstrate that they have met the criteria below, and must be able to maintain this quality for the full life of their service.”

Start building digital by default services. May 2013. GDS, Cabinet Office. “The service manual is here to help service managers and digital delivery teams across government make services so good that people prefer to use them. It’s made up of two things; the Digital by Default Service Standard, a list of criteria that services and teams must meet before they go live; the Government Service Design Manual, a pool of guidance and advice about how to design and build digital services from teams across government.”

From “Start building digital by default services”, 2013

Government Digital Strategy. December 2013. Cabinet Office. An update to the Digital Strategy of November 2012.

e-Government in the United Kingdom. May 2014. European Commission. A useful snapshot from the EC of the status of the UK’s digital/e-government work, which includes an historical listing as far back as 1994. It also reviews work in the devolved administrations.

More than just websites. Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service. Blog. 26 September 2014. “Government is adopting new ideas and new ways of working to make everything we do better for users, and more efficient. Technology and the internet in particular, are the driving forces. Many in the world of business understood this and adapted to it years ago. The Civil Service lagged behind. Now we are changing that.”

Identity Assurance Principles. V3.1. Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group (PCAG). 30 September 2014. The latest iteration of the identity assurance principles as set out by PCAG for use by the GOV.UK Verify programme.

Government as a Platform: the next phase of digital transformation. GDS Blog. 29 March 2015. Although the Government as a Platform vision had already been set out by the Government’s Chief Technology Officer in GDS in 2013 (see above), this blog states that “Government as a Platform is a new vision for digital government; a common core infrastructure of shared digital systems, technology and processes on which it’s easy to build brilliant, user-centric government services.” This statement does not accurately reflect on the existing platforms already in place, including the earlier platform work from 1994 onwards, and in particular the era from 2001 some of which is usefully reviewed and considered in this 2003 paper by a senior Cabinet Office official.


2015–2017 (Conservative administration)

Introducing GOV.UK Verify. GDS, Cabinet Office. June 2015. Provides an overview of the GOV.UK Verify programme, how it works and the status as of June 2015.

Preparing for Government as a Platform. GDS, Cabinet Office. June 2015. “We’re laying the groundwork for government as a platform, making sure we have an excellent understanding of what’s needed, where, and to what extent.”

Making payments more convenient and efficient. GDS, Cabinet Office. July 2015. Talks about a new Payments platform: “… in the last few months, a team at GDS has developed a prototype cross-government platform that will improve the way government takes these payments. This initiative is part of the Government as a Platform programme where GDS works with departments and agencies to improve digital services.” There is no reference to the status of the earlier Payment platform (see 1997-2010 above for various mentions).

GDS Mission – the next phase. Minister Matt Hancock MP’s blog. GDS, Cabinet Office. August 2015. “The work that GDS is doing, and the vision of Government as a Platform, is changing the core infrastructure of shared digital systems, technology and processes. Look at what’s already been started with GOV.UK, a world leading platform for publishing and, now with GOV.UK Verify, for identity too. But there’s a lot more to do to cement this work and embed modern digital, technology and data throughout government.”

Building a platform to host digital services. GDS, Cabinet Office. September 2015. “Right now, hosting services is one of the most time-consuming barriers for new digital services, and usually involves duplicating work done elsewhere. On the Government Platform as a Service team we’re working on solving that.”

What’s happening with data. GDS, Cabinet Office. September 2015. “It’s time to update you on what’s been happening on our work with data. It’s one of our three interconnected strategic areas of focus: digital, technology and data. They’re so closely intertwined that we can’t work on just one or two of them. It’s all three, or nothing.”

Government as a platform for the rest of us. GDS, Cabinet Office, October 2015. “We get more services, we get better services, and for less money than before. That’s what Government as a Platform means. That’s why it matters.”

Good Practice Guide No. 44 Authentication and Credentials for use with HMRC Online Services. First Public Release. CESG / Cabinet Office. An update to the authentication / credentials needed for online public services, continuing with Levels 1 to 3 of the earlier authentication frameworks.

Good Practice Guide No. 45 Identity Proofing and Verification of an Individual. October 2015. First Public Release. CESG / Cabinet Office. An update to earlier HMG requirements for identity proofing and verification of an individual, continuing with the Levels 1 to 4 of the earlier editions.

Good Practice Guide No. 46 Organisation Identity. October 2015. First Public Release. CESG / Cabinet Office. An update to earlier HMG requirements for identity proofing and verification of an organisation identity, focusing on Levels 2 and 3 of the earlier editions.

Status tracking – making it easy to keep users informed. GDS, Cabinet Office. October 2015. Sets out the potential for a new Notifications platform. “The most important thing that we’ve learned is that there is huge user demand across services for notifications from government  – whether that’s a receipt, a reminder, a request for something, or an update.” There is no reference to the status of the earlier Notifications platform (see 1997-2010 above for various mentions).

Introducing GOV.UK Pay. GDS, Cabinet Office. October 2015. The replacement Payments platform is now known as GOV.UK Pay, in line with other GOV.UK platform branding. The programme is moving into its beta phase.

Making tax digital. HMRC. December 2015. “During this Parliament, HMRC will make fundamental changes to the way the tax system works — transforming tax administration so it is more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers.” This represents one of the major modernisations of the system since PAYE was introduced during the second world war, aiming to move towards a near real time service.

The four foundations of making tax digital by 2020

The internet is ‘ok’. James Stewart, GDS blog. 20 January 2017. Signals a move away from the proprietary government networks of the past: “… new services should be made available on the internet and secured appropriately using the best available standards-based approaches. When we’re updating or changing services, we should take the opportunity to move them to the internet.”

Government Transformation Strategy. 9 February 2017. Cabinet Office. “… describes the progress we have already made, from simplifying the smallest transactions between the citizen and the state to some of the largest reform programmes across the globe. This is only the beginning however: this strategy charts the direction of the total transformation of government – in how we work, how we organize ourselves and how we serve our citizens. It is the most ambitious programme of change of any government anywhere in the world, by a government that has already done more to transform itself than any other.”

UK Digital Strategy. 1 March 2017. “… that is the ambition of this Strategy – to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.”

Digital Economy Act 2017. UK Government. The act addresses policy issues related to electronic communications infrastructure and services, and allows increased “data sharing” between government departments.


2017–2019 (Conservative administration)

The Seven Pillars of the Digital Strategy. Minister of State’s address to the Institute of Directors’ Digital Strategy Summit. Published 17 October 2017. “Our Digital Strategy, published in March of this year, set out how we intend to make the UK the best place to establish and grow a digital business and the safest place for citizens to be online. It set out seven pillars that underpin the changes we need to see and I would like to update you now on how we have already delivered on those, and how we are set to deliver further in the very near future.”

Guide to developing the programme business case. Better business cases: for better outcomes. HM Treasury and Welsh Government. 2018. “… it provides a clear framework for thinking about spending proposals and a structured process for appraising, developing and planning to deliver best social value for money: all of which is captured through a well prepared business case to support objective, evidence based decisions.”

The 7 Lenses of Transformation. 8 May 2018. “The 7 Lenses emerged from discussions with change leaders across government to develop a common language about what successful transformation programmes have in common. All of these programmes are very different, but we were able to identify common themes that you need to get right. We’ve distilled this mass of learning experience into a tool that is straightforward to apply in your environment. Using the lenses will give you confidence and reassurance that you are focussing on the right priorities, and will help you to identify which areas need more attention.”

The 7 Lenses maturity matrix (poster). 25 September 2018. As the name suggests, the 7 lenses set out on one page.

Data Protection Act 2018. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). An update to UK data protection legislation, complementing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GOV.UK Verify programme: Written Statement, House of Commons. Oliver Dowden, MP (Minister for Implementation). Announcement of the end of government investment in the GOV.UK Verify programme. 9 October 2018.


2019– (Conservative administration)

Transforming GOV.UK: the future of digital public services. Jen Allum, Deputy Director. GOV.UK. GDS blog. 5 November 2019. “GOV.UK can’t continue to expect to rely on a reactive engagement with our users or to think of ourselves simply as ‘a website’. Instead, we have to shift to an offering that is proactive, lowfriction, channel-agnostic and more rapidly iterating … we are also looking at how we can use anonymised data across the whole of the GOV.UK estate to give us a consistent understanding of how GOV.UK is being used and how people interact with government online.” 

Digital Identity and GOV.UK Verify Programme Update: Written statement, House of Commons. 29 April 2020. Michael Gove MP (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office). Announcement of a further up to 18 months extension of the GOV.UK Verify programme.

Other useful things

In addition to the government policy-related documents above, the following sites, documents and books provide additional relevant information and research.

The Government Gateway federated identity and messaging broker mentioned in a Microsoft newsletter from 2001, demonstrating an early use of agile in government: the federated identity broker and cross-government message handling system was built and delivered between October 2000 and January 2001. It provides an open-standards SAML and digital certificate hub for identity federation (later to include chip and PIN cards), as well as a transaction/messaging system using open and authenticated APIs to enable the flow of data between government departments and between citizens, businesses and government.

Summary comparison table of the original Government Gateway SAML hub and the GOV.UK Verify SAML hub, showing differences in functionality and scope of the support for federated identity across individuals, organisations, proxies and transactions.

Wardley Mapping. Wardley Mapping (also called Value Chain Mapping) is a technique of environment visualisation that supports the development of meaningful strategy. It can also help with deciding where to consume existing products and services, and where bespoke build is required.

A Government-wide Enterprise Architecture. How To Avoid Indigestion When Attempting To Eat An Elephant. 2003. Alan Mather, Director, e-Delivery Team, Cabinet Office. This provides valuable insight into the attempts to develop common, shared infrastructure and platforms for the whole of government in the period c.2001-2003.

Government on the Web. This site is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of digital era government. This site is run jointly by the LSE Public Policy Group (London School of Economics and Political Science) and the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford).

Digital Era Governance: IT Corporations, the State, and E-Government. (Book). 19 Jun 2008. Patrick Dunleavy, Helen Margetts, Simon Bastow, Jane Tinkler.

12 Years of e-Government: A Review. December 2009, released July 2010. Centre for Technology Policy Research.

The Obama Effect: the US IT Revolution and the UK. November 2009, released July 2010. Centre for Technology Policy Research.

UK public sector IT. October 2009, released July 2010. Centre for Technology Policy Research.

Digital government, open architecture and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again. Journal of Public Administration and Management. September 2012. Mark Thompson and Jerry Fishenden.

The Gubbins of Government. Mark Foden. 18 June 2013. A clear 3:17 minute articulation of the nature of Government as a Platform. (Predates the GDS version above – in “Government as a Platform: the next phase of digital transformation” – by the best bit of 2 years. And does a better job).

Digitizing Government: Understanding and Implementing New Digital Business Models. (Book). 1 Dec 2014. Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson.

Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science Summer 2013. Lecture 9: Zero-Knowledge Proofs. Lecturer: Kurt Mehlhorn & He Sun. A useful introduction to zero knowledge proof, something any policymaker working with identity and data issues needs to understand.