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3 reasons the Government’s Performance Platform is exciting

The UK Government (via GDS) is gradually rolling out a new performance platform. It’s exciting for lots of reasons, and getting less attention than it deserves.

Here are three reasons I’m excited.

1. It makes government services easier to use

Stages of making an LPA

To me, the most exciting part is that it will make it easier for me, as a citizen, to fill in forms online.

That’s because it tracks what stages people on average get to when doing something like filling in a tax return – registering, logging in for the first time, filling in the first page and so on.

See, for example, the “stages of making an LPA” on the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) performance page.

The idea is that the service manager running the service can use this “funnel” to work out what part is confusing and needs improvement, and immediately spot any change which has made it harder for citizens (design with data).

2. It enables comparison between services

Weekly visitors to www.gov.uk

As you can see from the LPA page, there’s lots of other data – rates of use over time, reasons the help button was filled in, responsiveness of the servers. Take a look at the www.gov.uk performance page for more examples.

As well as monitoring their improvements, this lets service managers compare themselves with others and find new ways to improve.

It’s also valuable to politicians to make these comparisons – which is why it is important the graphs are accurate and clear, and deeply non-partisan.

3. It creates interesting new open data for free

Transactional services

Government IT always should be open (Make things open: it makes things better), and the Performance Platform benefits from that.

The performance data and web pages are all available to anyone for free. Open data freaks pay heed – this will release a lot of interesting new open data by the back door. I’m quite excited.

There are 10 services on the system now, with 707 more to come!

This is the first in a series of posts about the performance platform – next time, how does it work inside?

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