How services are assessed

Services covered by the Digital Service Standard need to be independently assessed to make sure they meet the criteria.

Which services need to be assessed

All services within the scope of the Digital Service Standard must be assessed against the standard. This makes sure that agencies build high-quality government services that meet user needs.

Assessments take the following forms.

Newer services

Assessments take place in 2 ways for services built or redesigned after 6 May 2016.

  • We lead assessments for all new or redesigned high-volume transactional services. These are services that have (or will have) more than 50,000 transactions per year.
  • Agencies lead their own assessments for any information service and for new or redesigned transactional services that have (or will have) fewer than 50,000 transactions per year.

Older services

If you operate a high-volume transactional service that was operating or started redesign before 6 May 2016, we can review it to see how well it is performing against the Digital Service Standard.

We arrange a team of experts to review the service and recommend ways you can make it simpler, clearer and faster.

Our reviews are similar to the staged assessment process.

Get in touch with us to request a review.

Assessment processes

There are 2 types of assessment:

When we lead assessments, we choose the type of assessment that’s most appropriate for the service and available resources.

For agency assessments on all other services, you can choose either type of assessment.

Assessment stages

Assessments become more comprehensive as services move through the service design and delivery process.


By the end of Alpha stage the service needs to pass criteria 1 to 3 and show progress against other criteria


During the Beta stage the service needs to pass all criteria before you release the product as a public beta.


At the end of the Beta stage, before you move to the Live stage, the service needs to meet all the criteria.

If your service doesn’t meet a criterion at any stage, you should consider the risk of progressing to the next stage of the service design and delivery process.

Publishing assessment reports

We publish assessment reports on to:

  • contribute to a government-wide repository of better practice
  • provide a resource for other teams redesigning or building services
  • provide an easy way to share ideas within and across departments
  • help agency teams to promote their good work
  • provide an audit trail of progress to support the assessment process
  • demonstrate commitment to the Digital Service Standard and increasing transparency of government to the community

Assessment teams

Assessors are independent of the service’s delivery team. They are experts in their field and are usually working on their own projects. This ensures their knowledge and skills are up to date.

There are usually 3 assessors, including a lead assessor.

They represent the following areas:

  • service design/user research
  • technology
  • Agile delivery

Get in touch with us to find out how to set up an assessment team.

Get in touch

If you have any questions you can get in touch with us at