Did Talk London meet the Local Government Digital Service Standard?

24 July 2018

Here at the City Hall we’ve long been advocates of using user-centred design to solve real-world problems, but sometimes it can be difficult to demonstrate how well that has been achieved.


That’s where standards come in. Put simply, they give you a mechanism to work out whether what you’ve done is good enough. The standard we’re talking about here is the Local Government Digital Service Standard, which measures how good a digital service is.

Which service did you assess?

We assessed Talk London, the Greater London Authority’s citizen engagement platform. This online community exists to create long-term relationships with Londoners who want to discuss the ongoing work of the Mayor of London, London Assembly and City Hall.

How did you assess it?

We formed a group with relevant expertise, based on the Government Digital Service manual. This included the following roles:

  • Lead assessor
  • User research assessor
  • Technical assessor
  • Design assessor

And from the Talk London team we had representatives in the following roles:

  • Service owner
  • Technical architect or lead developer
  • User research
  • Designer
  • Performance analyst

As a group, we talked through the 15 points which make up the Local Government Digital Service Standard.

What did the assessment involve?

The assessment itself is simply a conversation which aims to answer and evidence how each of the 15 points have been met.

It started with a demo of the Talk London service (show, don't tell), followed by an in-depth discussion, where the group sought to understand how the service had been developed. The service was then given a score out of 5 for each of the 15 points, to indicate the extent to which the standard had been met in that area.

Afterwards we wrote a report to summarise the assessment, including recommendations for how the service could be improved.

Did it pass?

Yes, it did! Talk London scored a fantastic 56 out of 75 (15 out of 75 is the pass mark). And there’s even a certificate to prove it.

For details of this assessment, please read the full report.

What's next?

For Talk London there’s much more planned, including some campaigns to increase participation and engagement, especially in underrepresented groups.

As for assessments, we’ve already done our second one and the third is planned. This is just the start. As we go forward, we plan to invite peers from other organisations to help carry out assessments and we hope to offer our assistance to others.

Get involved

If you’d like to know more, please do get in touch. If you work for a London borough council and would like to help us with an assessment, or would like us to help you, then drop us a line at [email protected].

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