Digital Service Standards for Wales – our next iteration

In October last year we published our draft/alpha service standards for digital services in Wales. Since then, we’ve been looking at how they’re being used, how standards are used in other countries and what we can do to support adoption more widely.

What we’ve learned

Through our review we’ve learned that many teams are aware of the service standards, but examples of where the standards have been used are limited. 

The review also told us that:

* teams understand and support the need for bespoke Welsh standards but there was some confusion between the new set and the set currently on the Welsh Government website 

* there is a lack of detailed knowledge of digital ways of working

* there isn’t enough of an emphasis on inclusion and accessibility in the current standards

* the current standards don’t explicitly cover the whole service journey – offline and online

* creating in-house multidisciplinary teams is a challenge

* practical guidance on how to meet the standards is needed

* assessments would be welcomed but teams would want to understand more about how this would work

* people need a community and space to share their frustrations, challenges and learning, but may lack the confidence to do so

We’re releasing an updated version of our standards

We’re updating our standards to respond to this feedback. We’ve grouped the standards into 3 sections, and added two new points to cover providing a joined up experience and making sure everyone can use the service.

Meeting users’ needs

1.         Focus on current and future well-being of people in Wales

2.         Promote the Welsh language 

3.         Understand users and their needs

4.         Provide a joined up experience *

5.         Make sure everyone can use the service * 

Creating good digital teams

6.         Have an empowered service owner

7.         Have a multidisciplinary team 

8.         Iterate and improve frequently 

9.         Work in the open

Using the right technology and data

10.       Use scalable technology 

11.       Consider ethics, privacy and security throughout 

12.       Use data to make decisions 

What we’re doing next

We want to make sure we can provide the right level of support to organisations to help them meet these standards.  Here’s what we’re going to do:

Head of Standards and Assurance

As a first step we’re hiring a Head of Standards and Assurance to help us embed the standards across all parts of the public sector; to develop an assurance process that meets the needs of the Welsh public sector; and to establish a community of interest around the standards for practitioners.


We’re putting these 12 standards at the heart of the skills and capability offering we are developing. We’re planning a course about the 12 standards and how to apply them in practice.


We’re developing more guidance for each of the standards, giving more context for each one and advice on how to get started with applying that standard.

Supporting teams

We’re starting a discovery with Sport Wales and coaching them through the application of the 12 standards through discovery. 

One set of standards for Wales

We’re working with Welsh Government to embed this standard as the default for the public sector in Wales, replacing the existing set. 

We’ll be blogging about our progress against these actions over the coming months so sign up to our newsletter to keep in touch and find out more about the community of practice when it’s launched. 

One thought on “Digital Service Standards for Wales – our next iteration

  1. Julian says:

    This is very welcome.

    It will really help us having a primary set of (Public) Service Standards across all Wales and that any if there are other standards, such as these Digital standards, or potential sector adaptions e.g. NHS [England] Service Standard; they don’t remove the primacy of the Welsh Public Service Standards.

    I also think being called Digital Standards helps to create the impression that they only apply within an IT or Tech context and service.

    Finally the MOJ have undertaken some great work in cataloging all services within the “justice family” and organised them by their digital maturity and delivery mode. Many of their services offered digital capabilities but did not meet the Service Standard (Not Digital by Default). It would also be good if Service Owners when designing (or redesigning) their products/services can be assessed for compliance/adherence to the Welsh Standards as a way of driving take up of this approach and could potentially help with funding and investment decisions.

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