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HMRC ♥ Services Week

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Services Week 2020 poster

Services Week 2020: what a great week it was

In February we took park in the second annual Services Week. Initiated by Government Digital Service (GDS), it's a week-long 'unconference' put on by colleagues across government and around the country. The week consists of talks, show and tells, workshops and other events to share what we have learned in delivering user-centred services.

An exciting aspect of Services Week is that it is self-organising – people from any area of government in any part of the country can create an event and share their thinking, skills, experiences, and start a discussion.

Ben Lovatt standing in front of a screen which says The Art of ?

How HMRC contributed to the mix

This year, HMRC put on 18 sessions as part of the overall week. These ranged from online showcases to workshops where participants were given design challenges to try out new approaches.

Attendance at HMRC’s sessions was high, with about 300 people taking part from across government, including local government and arms-length bodies.

The things we did and talked about included:

  • developing assessments for end-to-end services
  • workplace empathy
  • neurodiversity in digital
  • the art of play in our work
  • ensuring accessibility
  • innovation and the future of tax
  • design thinking
  • introduction to service design training
  • hands-on training in experience, journey and service mapping
  • user-centred design in product management
  • content strategy as part of service design.

The mapping workshop, although a ‘whistle-stop tour,’ was highly collaborative and I really enjoyed experiencing a mapping exercise with people from across government. Not only did I learn how to ‘do’ mapping, but I also learnt some really interesting methods and techniques to help get them started.

Sophie Lloyd, Security Industry Authority

HMRC colleagues also gave sessions as part of the first Manchester GovDesign meet up and Product People North.

Designing for inclusion

A key theme in our participation was designing services for all: building empathy as part of our design process. Feedback from the Accessibility Empathy Hub and Neurodiversity sessions was very positive.

Glasses are a really simple way to walk in the shoes of a visually impaired person - great. I constantly work with accessibility in mind, this would be great to have on my machine to demo for stakeholders

Participant in Newcastle Empathy Hub session

Participants from another government department are keen to follow up from the session to find out more about my bid to HM Treasury for funding to support a cross-government project I have been leading ‘Neurodiversity and invisible disabilities’ and about my involvement with the Civil Service Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Network (CSDDN)

Clare Hussey, presenter of Neurodiversity in Digital workshop

A group of participants standing next to a white board covered in coloured sticky notes

The collaboration continues

The impact doesn’t end on the last day of Services Week 2020:

  • We’ve been invited by a number of other government departments to present or run sessions with them
  • We’ll be contributing a post to the cross-government services blog
  • We’ll be setting up OneTeam Gov and cross-government service design events at Canary Wharf
  • We have met a lot of colleagues who we’ll be continuing the conversation with. And we’ve met new colleagues who we can collaborate with to develop integrated services that “solve whole problems” for our customers and users.

Thanks to:

  • Marc O’Connor and David Cornforth who organised our participation and getting the word out
  • our DWP and NHS colleagues who organised joint sessions with our team in Newcastle
  • everyone who organised and ran sessions.

Finally, a very large thank you to Martin Jordan and Kara Kane who energetically lead the cross-government community that has kicked this all off. And see you all at Services Week 2021!

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