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Sharing ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling through the Cross Government Assessor Network

I remember the jumble sales of my teenage years. Everything was priced at 10p: whether it was a vintage Gucci handbag or a pair of fur-lined granny boots!It was so exciting to pull out a gorgeous fifties frock, or to dream about the perfect pair of pedal-pushers I’d be able to fashion from the curtain fabric I’d wrestled from my neighbour.

So, what have the jumble sales of the eighties got to do with DWP Digital?

Well, while jumble sales are pretty much a thing of the past, it’s still fashionable to ‘reduce, re-use and re-cycle’. Finding the best-fit product for your budget could be challenging but it was also exhilarating, and it’s the same with the work that we’re doing in the Cross Government Assessor Network.

The Cross Government Assessor Network

Set up by DWP two and a half years ago, we have representatives from all across government, including GDS, Scottish Government and Local Authorities. It’s a way for the Digital Service Standard Assessor community to: share experiences and best practice; build capability; and to resolve common issues. Our last meeting focused on cross-government re-use of digital services.

Reduce, re-use and recycle

At the meeting we identified and discussed lots of different opportunities for re-use of services across government, and ways that we could collaborate to share these.

Poster showing the 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' slogan

For example, our colleague Victoria Kirk, explained how one of our DWP teams was looking at procuring an off the shelf service to manage official correspondence and freedom of information requests. Through working with GDS and our Cross Government Assessor Network, Victoria knew that the Ministry of Justice were also building a similar service of their own, for the same purpose, so we shared ideas about how working together could help the two departments and others.

GDS delivered a presentation on the work they are doing to develop a video-recorded assessment training tool. Recycling and re-using this tool across government would be really beneficial, as there is currently limited assessment observation opportunities for trainee assessors.

Gaynor Harvey, HMRC, shared an update on the work that their Standards and Assurance Team are doing to support teams in the Discovery phase. As part of this work, they are testing guidance, tools and capturing case studies which, once developed, can be shared with other government departments.

We also visited the DWP Digital Hub in Leeds where our Home Office representative saw an opportunity to learn from the ‘Prepare for UC’ team’s tool to help manage and deliver operational organisational change.

Sharing solutions

We compiled a comprehensive list of common themes, such as sharing learning to develop a common standard for assessors across government. The Network members will vote on the ideas and take forward our top priorities.

Discussing re-use of digital services was one of the most productive, waste reducing, upcycling events I’ve been to! Which brings me back to the jumble sale analogy - at the meeting I felt like I was right back there! It was pretty amazing, although it was a much more uplifting and collaborative affair, sans-elbows-in-your-ribs, and all about reducing waste, and increasing efficiencies. After all who doesn’t love a bargain whilst helping to save the planet?

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