A groundbreaking online learning service for Civil Servants

Transforming the online learning service whilst creating a new highly usable, scalable and secure cloud solution

Our brief was to build a new digital learning platform for the government within six months, offering targeted learning for the users: 450,000 civil servants.

The Civil Service’s vision and aim is to become a learning focussed organisation, enabling the UK to deal with the political complexities of the coming years, and it requires a learning solution for its civil servants to support them in building the skills, interests and the future of UK Government.

The previously existing Civil Service Learning Platform was the heart of learning for UK government and impacting every single Civil Servant. Over time the technology had become old, failing to meet the needs of a digitally savvy organisation, and expensive to maintain. 450,000 civil servants found themselves hampered by poor usability and accessibility creating barriers to their learning.

A new solution was needed within 6 months due to the existing political situation and timelines.

We provided a highly skilled team across engineering, research, design and product, and set out to deliver key elements within the Discovery, Alpha and Beta phases. An agile rhythm was set up with small, fast, iterations through user research, analysis, design, build, test and learn.

The Discovery phase exposed a wide range of needs across end users. Simultaneously with the Discovery phase, we ran technology spikes to understand legacy systems, migration challenges, and options for reusable open source solutions and components.

The Alpha prototyping phase rapidly gave us our key goals:

  • to create a marketplace for all the learning government has to offer
  • to provide tailored, relevant learning for users
  • to ensure the learning is cost-effective, harnessing what is available on the internet in addition to the ‘classic’ forms of learning
  • anytime, anywhere learning – moving away from archaic, expensive ‘Learning Management Systems’
  • timely learning – with simple tools for Learning & Development teams to use and get the most from their curricula

Based on these objectives, we rapidly built a digital service, constantly checking with our users that the thinking and tangible outputs were addressing their needs. This helped us prioritise the build and delivery of the key components, and removed risk to the organisation.

The Cabinet Office approved the use of the latest technology, effectively ensuring a blank slate approach, which enabled us to create one of the leading digital services in government to date, at speed and at scale.

The Private Beta was delivered in just over four months from the start of the Discovery phase.

With a view to maintaining the quality of the platform, we established a continuous service improvement programme with a core team including upskilled civil servants whom we had mentored on the journey. Our own team of specialists began to roll off one by one after six months, leaving in place a new internal long term capability.

450,000 civil servants now enjoy new ways of learning because we were able to deliver the new digital platform – a secure, scalable, user focused marketplace for learning – within the 6 months time limit.

Our initial work on the user facing digital service was such a success that further 2 digital services were commissioned and build in under 2 months: a Digital Administration Service and a Digital Events Management Service.

The new civil service learning platform has transformed the way the entire UK Civil Service thinks about and approaches learning. It equips the country for the challenges of the future, supports governments in implementing their commitments of delivering high quality services to the public, and to keep the UK prosperous and secure.

We are proud to have created one of the leading digital services in government to date, at speed and at scale, which is revolutionising learning for the entire UK Civil Service. A new highly usable, scalable and secure cloud solution is now actively developing the organisational capabilities that underpin the Civil Service vision: to be “A Brilliant Civil Service”.