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Sector Spotlight: Digital services in Central Government – agile, re-usable, manageable

12 September, 2023, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


Many organisations in central government and the public sector are faced with huge complexity within their IT estate, the result of years of consolidation and integration of servers, software and services.

In view of the huge responsibility placed on these departments to roll out and support essential services nationwide, the task of moving from the siloed legacy of the past to a new, agile future based on common technology is quite daunting.

This sector spotlight – the latest in our range of virtual events focusing on different industry sectors – offers three different perspectives from government departments looking to streamline their current IT service management assets, re-using service components in an agile environment, and putting the right governance in place to manage the next stages.

Service management and the Strategic Reference Architecture

Ethan Taylor, Service Management Practice – Head of Role, Department for Work and Pensions

The Strategic Reference Architecture (SRA) provides a long-term view of how DWP will grow and develop as an organisation and creates a common approach to development.​​​​​​​ It is fundamentally about finding single solutions to common problems, sharing knowledge and reusing technology to align services. ​​​​

The key principles are to:

  • share & reuse;
  • do things once, for the benefit of many;
  • share expertise and data;
  • work across multiple products.

Whilst this approach not only makes sense but also reflects current industry trends, applying these principles to the way that product and service outcomes are supported is by no means easy. From a Service Management perspective, much of the daily activity being undertaken ensures continuity of live service, so it is essential that we co-ordinate our approach to avoid the introduction of risk.

Where services might currently have discrete components delivering similar outcomes, consolidating those services into a single instance of a component clearly has an impact on the risk profile; and what could be a business-critical failure for one service may be inconsequential for another. This means that ensuring the actions, engagement and decisions of the respective process owners are correctly co-ordinated is key to the success of the new model.

With over 1200 colleagues delivering Service Management outcomes across geographically and technically diverse functions, it is not surprising that opinions on how to manage these impacts are also diverse. Our response has been to initiate a Service Management Council, facilitated by our Service Management Practice Support Team. The aim of the Council is to establish a core leadership group, who can represent the various functions and begin to address the challenges and opportunities the SRA brings.

It is early days, but the success of this forum will have a key bearing on how the principles of the SRA land in the DWP estate. This session will give some insight into how the Council is operating, the successes achieved and challenges encountered.

Service management organisational structures: you build it, you fix it

Geoff Soper, Head of Service Operations, Intellectual Property Organisation

The IPO is undergoing a very significant digital transformation as we look towards a more agile approach for our services. This session will focus on the challenges faced in migrating from a traditional structure to an agile one, and the speaker will highlight how the IPO have approached some key decisions.

Traditional view Agile view
Hierarchical Organisation Cross-functional teams
Functional Silos Collaborative and adaptive
Process Centric Approach Customer Centric Approach
Specialised roles Agile roles
Formal documentation Lean documentation
Sequential Project Management Iterative

The remit for our new world services is… you build it, you fix it.

As new services are delivered, specialised technical roles (the Operations Centre and Application Support staff) within Service Management will transition into service squads as legacy services are decommissioned. This will leave Service Management where it should be, overseeing the IPO’s services and providing specialised support to our colleagues.

Having a multi-functional squad for each workstream (Common Tech, Manage, Research, Secure and Challenge) has its own issues, with various capacity, resource and management implications. It also begs several questions:

  • Does each workstream cover the 24/7 availability of the services?
  • Who is responsible for monitoring? This has traditionally sat with the IT Operations Centre – is it the workstreams now? Are they poacher and gamekeeper?
  • How does Service Management report on ticketing when all the work is being carried out in ADO?
  • What happens to the Operations Centre which sits within Service Management – is it just a reporting function now with a group of incident managers?
  • Does Service Management in the IPO become purely Service Management?

These questions and others will be addressed in the presentation.

Employing ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL for effective governance in digital services

David Booth, Deputy Director, Digital Strategy & Operations, Department for Transport

For the Department for Transport, a key aspect of moving forward with digital services is getting the right governance and guidance in place. In this session we look at the service management standard ISO/IEC 20000 and how it can complement ITIL best practice, providing measurement and governance of essential processes.

The ISO/IEC 20000 framework formalises the governance structure to ensure that ITSM processes are aligned with international best practice. It helps the organisation to benchmark how they measure service levels, deliver accurate services and assess their performance on an internationally recognised scale.

The cornerstone of ISO/IEC 20000 is the Service Management System, a management system to direct and control the service management activities of internal and external service providers. Recent versions of the standard have extended the SMS concept to SIAM, Agile and DevOps, greatly increasing its scope and versatility.

In this presentation, we consider the best ways to combine the respective strengths of ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 in a large government department.

Delivery Platform

This online event will be delivered using the Zoom platform.

How much does it cost?

Places are available to itSMF UK members and non-members for FREE.




12 September, 2023
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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itSMF Events Team
+44 (0)118 918 6500
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