Digital Landscape Review – end of discovery findings  

11 October 2021

For the last 10 weeks we have been working on the discovery phase of the Digital Landscape Review. We’ve blogged about progress along the way, but we thought it would be useful to summarise our journey as we move to the alpha phase. 

Why are we doing the review?  

Together with the Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) in Welsh Government, Local Government and Health, we’re responsible for delivering the Digital Strategy for Wales.  

Mission 1 in the strategy is Digital Services. The vision for this is to ‘design and modernise services so that they are designed around user needs and are simple, secure and convenient’ 

To achieve this, we first need to understand the state of Welsh public services (across services, platforms, contracts, technology and skills) so that we can better set priorities, find duplication, identify where we can join up teams and services and assign investment for improving them. 

What services are we reviewing? 

We’ve structured our work into four areas of public spending, and we will be reviewing services in each of these areas. These are Health and Care, Welsh Government, Local Government and Welsh Government sponsored bodies.   

The review will cover both digital and non-digital services so we can identify the services that could benefit from investment and the application of user centred design and digital transformation.  

The review will have three outputs: 

The discovery journey

As part of the discovery phase, we’ve been setting the scope of the review, gaining an initial view of the service landscape and testing our approach to data gathering via two surveys; one generalist survey and another focussing on more technical aspects. We’ve also been prototyping our key outputs – mainly the database of current services and our method for prioritising opportunities.  

What do service owners want from the review? 

Service owners, (those who design and deliver services) want to have the opportunity to influence future priorities for digital services. They want to connect with the Welsh service community and collaborate with the CDPS, with the aim of sharing best practice and potentially saving money through developing shared platforms and/or components.  

They want to input into the review in a way that is quick and streamlined. They also want to understand how the outputs of the review will be used.  

“We weren’t sure if the review was going to happen to us, with us, or for us.” 

Insights from our user research 

We spoke to 15 different service owners from across Wales as part of our discovery and were looking for key indicators which would suggest signs of good practice including things such as involving users in service design and delivery.   

38.5% of service owners said they involved their users in the design and delivery of their services, 15.4% said they only involved user in the design phase, while 46.2% said they didn’t involve users at all.  

76.9% of services are fully available in Welsh, 15.4% partially available with 7.7% not available in Welsh.  

We learned a lot through these conversations about people’s understanding of the digital service standards for Wales and over the coming months, we will be doing more to support organisations to adopt and embed them.  

Technical survey findings

At this stage of the review, it’s challenging to conduct any quantitative analysis of the technical survey. We had five responses (from service owners) on behalf of their services. For the alpha phase we have redesigned our approach to gather the information we need in order to reach firmer conclusions. 

Challenges and opportunities identified by service owners

“There’s a nervousness that digitising services will create more work as the people currently involved lack the necessary skills.” 

“Once for Wales is a great idea, but it means that you need to work at the pace of the slowest.” 

“The IT department are fully stretched and often cannot support changes to the software which limits our ability to improve quickly.” 

“To maintain secure digital services, service owners often have to hire external cyber security contractors which tends to be high cost” 

Internal digital skills and capabilities, and collaboration between organisations were the most cited challenges - but where there’s challenge, there’s also opportunity.  

The output of the discovery phase is twelve high level opportunities for improving services.   

We mentioned in our last blog that some of these opportunities reinforce what we already know and are working towards and align with the themes detailed in our Digital Service Standards for Wales and the OECD standards for digital government.

We’ve started to break these down into more detailed opportunities which we will test and iterate further in the alpha phase.   

Next steps – moving to alpha 

Over the next 10 weeks, our target is to gather data on many more services across Local Government, Health and Care, Welsh Government and Welsh Government sponsored bodies.  

In addition to looking at the same service across multiple organisations, we intend work through the surveys in focus groups to reduce the time burden on service owners. This will also allow us to have broader discussions with more service owners.  

During this phase we will also be testing several hypotheses about the service database and the costed roadmap and we’ll be blogging about each of these over the coming weeks.  

If you are interested in hearing more about the discovery phase and more in-depth findings, you can watch a recording of the end of discovery show and tell.

We’re already talking to organisations such as The National Museum of Wales, The National Library of Wales and Social Care Wales to name a few.  

If you work in any of the 4 areas above and would like to help influence future priorities for digital services, we’d love to hear from you.  

Get in touch

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  1. Andrew Chainey says:

    The threat of legal action for non-compliant Wlesh services is cripppling the usefulness of digital projects.
    We have personal experience of developing software that is not rolled out because of fear that translation is not up to scratch. Thereby providing an inferior and slow service for the majority of the public in Wales.

    1. Centre for Digital Public Services says:

      Thanks for your comment Andrew. We have a community of practice set up looking at building bilingual digital services which is open to all. It may be of interest: