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Creating Safe Spaces for Challenge, being a Lead Assessor for Government Service Standard Assessments

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A presentation given at Service Design in Government, Edinburgh, Wednesday 6th March by Sam Villis, Steve McCready and Clara Songaila.

This presentation covers, what happens at service assessments, how service teams feel about them, and how we can make sure they continue to be useful productive safe spaces.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Creating Safe Spaces for Challenge, being a Lead Assessor for Government Service Standard Assessments

  1. 1. Creating safe spaces for challenge...
  2. 2. ...being a lead assessor for Service Standard Assessments
  3. 3. Sam Villis @stamanfar Local Collaboration Lead - MHCLG Clara Songaila @clarasongaila Digital Engagement Manager - GDS Steve McCready @stevemccready Spend Controls Lead - GDS
  4. 4. Write down what you would like to get out of this session...
  5. 5. What we will cover: ● Why and how we assess services against the Service Standard ● How assessments help teams to deliver the best services for citizens ● Code of Conduct
  6. 6. What we will cover: ● Why and how we assess services against the Service Standard ● How assessments help teams to deliver the best services for citizens ● Code of Conduct
  7. 7. What we will cover: ● Why and how we assess services against the Service Standard ● How assessments help teams to deliver the best services for citizens ● Code of Conduct
  8. 8. Standards Assurance
  9. 9. The Standards Assurance Team in GDS run the digital and technology Spend Control and Service Assessment processes on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
  10. 10. The aim is to reduce government waste and ensure departments make the right technology decisions to deliver great digital services to citizens.
  11. 11. Maybe we could all talk more about what the service standard enables: a transparent way to measure progress, a lodestar for government to work towards, a fair and reasoned way to avoid departments marking their own homework, an important sponsor of working in the open and, most importantly, a catalyst for better services for users.
  12. 12. Senior Technology Advisors (STA's) work with departments to approve (...or not) requests to spend public money.
  13. 13. Digital Engagement Managers (DEM's) work with departments to make sure that the services they are creating meet the Digital Service Standard.
  14. 14. Why have assessments?
  15. 15. Services are assessed to make sure they meet the Digital Service Standard and to protect the quality of GOV.UK.
  16. 16. They also help get feedback from a panel of experts and solve problems with the service as it is built.
  17. 17. What are assessments?
  18. 18. ● A four hour peer review of a service, ● using an agenda-guided discussion, ● with up to five assessors on the panel ● and five members of a service team, ● to understand if the service meets the Service Standard.
  19. 19. ● A four hour peer review of a service, ● using an agenda-guided discussion, ● with up to five assessors on the panel, ● and five members of a service team, ● to understand if the service meets the Service Standard.
  20. 20. ● A four hour peer review of a service, ● using an agenda-guided discussion, ● with up to five assessors on the panel, ● and five members of a service team, ● to understand if the service meets the Service Standard.
  21. 21. ● A four hour peer review of a service, ● using an agenda-guided discussion, ● with up to five assessors on the panel, ● and five members of a service team, ● to understand if the service meets the Service Standard.
  22. 22. ● A four hour peer review of a service, ● using an agenda-guided discussion, ● with up to five assessors on the panel, ● and five members of a service team, ● to understand if the service meets the Service Standard.
  23. 23. How do service teams feel about assessments?
  24. 24. Well, there are a number of different views...
  25. 25. Failure. A battering.
  26. 26. A good chance to get outsider perspective.
  27. 27. To share knowledge and make contacts with people doing the same role in other government departments.
  28. 28. How have assessments changed?
  29. 29. We’ve made improvements that reinforce this being a peer review and guidance opportunity
  30. 30. We do this by engaging with service teams earlier and by using an ‘agenda-guided’ discussion in the assessment
  31. 31. Are assessors power hungry narcissists?
  32. 32. Well no…. We’re really just very nosy.
  33. 33. Being a lead assessor is a big responsibility.
  34. 34. Making a safe space
  35. 35. How do you make a safe space?
  36. 36. 1. Making sure everyone is heard
  37. 37. Learning people’s names! Seating! Enabling people to speak early Giving people opportunity to reflect
  38. 38. 2. Giving teams the opportunity to explain their context
  39. 39. It’s impossible to know everything about other departments Dedicating time to understanding the context of services is imperative
  40. 40. This extends outside the realm of the assessment… Service assessors can request more information from teams before or after the assessment.
  41. 41. 3. Work hard to create a space free of judgement
  42. 42. Looking out for language Making sure everyone understands the details Clarifying
  43. 43. 4. Make sure that everyone in the room feels that the time has been valuable
  44. 44. We believe it is important for assessors to look for opportunities to add value - if we can Building connections, making introductions, suggesting reading or case studies
  45. 45. Panels need safe spaces too!
  46. 46. Creating a safe space extends to the panel - often we don’t all agree!
  47. 47. Lead assessors have to weigh up a range of different views from the panel, made up of colleagues from across government
  48. 48. Code of conduct
  49. 49. The team pulled together a number of examples of Codes of Conduct
  50. 50. Value everyone’s ideas, skills and experiences.
  51. 51. Ensure all are free from discrimination and harassment.
  52. 52. Listen. To everyone.
  53. 53. Don’t assume. If you don’t know, ask... and ask again.
  54. 54. Have empathy and respect.
  55. 55. Questions?
  56. 56. Thanks!

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