Transforming Government via the Exemplar Programme

Digital Transformation via 25 exemplar projects – to instigate, inspire and manage the culture change required for the transformation of government capabilities into ‘digital by default’.

In 2013 the Government Digital Service Transformation team began working with government departments to digitally enable and transform 25 high volume citizen-facing transacting areas into standard-setting examples of high quality services. These examples of digital transformation were to be used as means to inspire and drive change across all government departments towards digital by default services and ways of working.

We worked across 5 of the 25 exemplar projects with our experts holding senior lead roles within GDS:

Identifying the importance of rapid momentum and to demonstrate a can-do attitude while delivering measurable results, we quickly established small teams across multiple departments to champion digital transformation and challenge entrenched blockers to change.

With a relentless focus over 2-3 years on improved user experiences and evolution of technical solutions, we gathered an increasingly passionate following of civil servants across departments who were keen to make a difference.

We refined user-centred, agile, and lean ways of working and architected organisation structures that better supported digital services.

We contributed significantly to the GOV.UK Service Manual, the Government Service Standard, and the overall strategy for government digital transformation.

Many civil servants in departments that we encouraged and mentored individually, created their own momentum of change and, with support, went on to make outstanding achievements improving the experiences (sometimes even the lives) of people using government services.

The exemplars programme spearheaded the UK government’s move towards “faster, better and cheaper” public services. It resulted in billions of pounds of cost savings, one exemplar in particular saving a net present value of £33M. Within 2 years the exemplars successfully achieved the coveted “Live” Service Standard assessment.