The Government Digital Service (GDS) is a new team within Cabinet Office tasked with transforming government digital services. Established in response to Martha Lane Fox’s report, ‘Directgov 2010 and beyond: revolution not evolution’ GDS' core purpose is to ensure the Government offers world-class digital products that meet people’s needs.
An early Cabinet Office decision was that GDS was to be built on Open Source from the ground up. Tasked with moving and improving all Government services online GDS wanted a powerful and flexible Content Mangement System (CMS) as a base to build departmental and special sites. GDS settled upon Drupal as their Open Source CMS, but wanted advice on the choice, to embed Drupal capability within the team at GDS responsible for managing it, and some good old-fashined help implementing a number of features.
Our first engagement with GDS was to provide strategic consultancy. We helped with the following:
- Audit and Healthcheck - making sure Drupal is properly set up, safe and secure. Advising on best practise.
- Advice and Recommendations - explaining the features and modules available in Drupal and the Drupal ecosystem, fitting the Drupal product to the GDS roadmap.
- Upgrade strategy - moving a number of existing Government sites from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 in the optimum way.
Finally, we ran some training workshops for members of the GDS team. Our training was designed to embed capability to run and manage Drupal long after our consultants and engineers have left.
The Mutuals Information Service and data.gov are happily running on Drupal, and in fact GDS have decided to run all of their sites (with the exception of the custom-built, but still Open Source, GOV.UK) on Drupal.
At GDS we are committed to delivering rapid, robust and cost effective solutions. We were very happy with the ability of Sirius to respond to tight timescales to meet our business needs. This is an example of how government and SMEs can work together to achieve successful outcomes.