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Government as a Service: What Is It and why do we need it?

October 29, 2021

Government as a Service


It’s clear that digital transformation is the future for government and public services. Not only does this move to digitisation improve efficiency, but it also casts the net wider as more citizens are given the opportunity to access public services. Many organisations have taken simple actions towards digital transformation, such as replacing paper forms with web forms. Others have introduced automation to streamline their processes. 


Although these are great steps, public services are still siloed by department and a range of data is duplicated across services. Government as a service is the perfect solution to bringing public services together to improve citizen experiences. We’ll guide you through how government platform as a service can transform the public sector.


We will be covering:


  • What is government as a service?
  • Government as a platform examples
  • Features of government as a service
  • Barriers to the government as a service approach
  • How BookingLive can help governments


What is government as a service?


Government as a service is also referred to as ‘government as a platform’. We will use these terms interchangeably throughout this article. These terms refer to a core infrastructure of digital systems, processes and technologies that are used to deliver government services with the user at the forefront. 


The Government Digital Service was established in 2012 to direct digital transformation across government. This began with the launch of GOV.UK – a single portal for the public to access services and policy guidance. In recent years, government as a service has moved towards improving efficiency within government. 


Government as a platform examples


Government as a platform examples include GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Pay. GOV.UK Notify is a system that is used to create, customise and send emails, text messages and letters to users. The platform allows institutions to send personalised messages from a single template, as well as deliver bulk notifications from a contact list. Security is paramount for government platforms and GOV.UK Notify keeps all data protected, so it’s a great solution.


Whereas GOV.UK Pay is a secure online payment service for the public sector to process payments from their users. On this platform, organisations can take credit, debit and digital wallet payments within the system or over the phone; process partial or full refunds; report on payments and customise branding on the payment pages to match the main website. It’s an essential part of the government’s toolkit.


Features of government as a service


Here are some of the core characteristics that make up government as a service:


  • Application programming interface (API)

An API is a type of software that offers a service to other pieces of software. In the context of government as a service, an API facilitates the addition of new programs.


  • Technology components 

Technology components can be thought of as building blocks used to create services. 


  • Standards

It’s important for standards to be in place so that all departments are on the same page.


  • Canonical datasets

Canonical datasets are used to present data in the simplest form. This makes it easier to integrate processes across different systems. It follows the principle of ‘tell the government once’, i.e. citizens only have to inform the government about a life event once, rather than dealing with many different departments.


Barriers to the government as a service approach 


A top benefit of government as a service is that it leads to improved public services that are more focused on the user. By taking this approach, you can specifically target the needs of each user group. 


However, achieving this will come with some challenges. There are still some barriers to creating a flawless government as a service system.


  • Security is fundamental – As governments begin to gather more and more data across a number of platforms, security has to be a number one priority. To achieve this, public sector organisations must bring in identity management and comprehensive authentication capabilities.
  • Act as one government – It can be hard to create change, especially when certain departments are set in their ways of running things. Governments need to break down these differences to create a single platform for citizens to interact with. Remember, improved user experience is the main aim of government as a service.
  • Data sharing between departments – There are a number of legal and technical barriers when it comes to sharing data between government departments. This is where APIs come in. APIs can be used to prevent sharing bulk data sets across agencies.


How BookingLive can help governments


BookingLive offers an innovative appointment scheduling software that’s trusted by central government, local authorities and councils. This digital solution can both streamline internal government processes and enhance customer relationships.


With BookingLive, citizens can access government services 24/7 on any device, from any location. This allows the public sector to promote all of their services in one place – improving the citizen experience. Our scheduling software can be used to arrange internal and external meetings, book a slot at a waste recycling centre, sell event tickets and more. 


We have implemented digital transformation across a range of authorities. You can browse our case studies and read all about how we helped Charnwood Borough Council improve their operations.


If you’re a public sector organisation looking to improve your services, we can help. Our scheduling software at BookingLive is trusted by government, NHS trusts and other public sector organisations. Get in touch with us today to find out how our solutions can work for you.


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