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Public sector

We help teams in central and local government deliver service transformation, using agile development and user-centred design methods.

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Working to GOV.UK standards

In creating the GOV.UK Service Standard and Design Principles, the Government Digital Service skilfully adapted the user-centred design and agile development approaches that have powered successful startups and innovators for over 15 years, for use in the public sector context.

The simple act of mandating that teams engage in discovery work to properly understand the problem and test ideas before making significant investments in technology has been transformational. We actively support the use of the phased service transformation framework.

Phased approach to service transformation – originally published on the GDS User Research Blog

Find us on Digital Outcomes and Specialists and G Cloud.


How we deliver

Here’s how we think about, and contribute to, each phase:

Discovery phase

We tend to lead the Discovery phase, in which we seek to understand:

  • The aims of the organisation – what success looks like, and how progress will be measured.
  • The needs of the various actors in the service – those who use it, those who deliver it, and those who manage and/or judge its performance.
  • The hard constraints we’re working within – be they policy, technology, or resource-driven

Then, armed with this insight we can:

  • Define a new blueprint or vision for a digitally-optimised service
  • Articulate a series of solutions that combine to deliver that vision
  • Plan how to test these solutions, and the assumptions that underpin them, in Alpha.

We like to work as one team with our clients, getting everyone involved to build empathy and understanding of user needs.

And we work in the open – delivering show and tells, publishing our work for others to learn from.

Our consultants have delivered discovery work for Royal Navy, DoHSC, Cabinet Office, Bristol City Council, Public Health England, Dept of Transport amongst others.

Alpha phase

During Alpha we identify the most risky assumptions underpinning our ideas. Will this meet really user needs? Will users choose to use it? Can we deploy this technology? Can we store data securely? How much time will it actually save?

Then we find ways to test them out by:

  • prototyping front stage and backstage interactions and processes and testing our prototypes with users
  • building technical a proof of concepts to test the end to end system.
  • researching and modelling impact on KPIs.

Only when we’re confident our solutions pass the tests do we make the case for investing in Beta.

We’ve delivered Alpha phases for Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, Torfaen Borough Council, Enterprise Europe Network and National Cyber Security Centre amongst others.

See our G-Cloud services listing for Alpha.

Beta and beyond

During Beta and Live phases we adopt a supporting role, working with technical partners or in-house development teams to continue iterating the service design with regular feedback from users. Our role includes:

  • Delivering detailed UX and UI work and service blueprint designs
  • Supporting or delivering content design
  • Supporting the service owner in managing the development of the technical build, for example in writing acceptance criteria for agile teams.
  • Creating and delivering an ongoing programme of usability testing and design iteration
  • Consulting on organisational changes, technology choices and wider service decisions.

Our team has delivered Beta phases for Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, Torfaen Borough Council, Enterprise Europe Network and National Cyber Security Centre.

Case study

The support, knowledge and expertise provided by Panda has been invaluable on more than one of our Digital Transformation projects. The latest, by far the most complex, Discovery and Alpha phases were delivered with great success.

Jonathan Cordier, Head of Service Design, Bath and Northeast Somerset Council


Our consultants have supported the following organisations in delivering public service transformation:

  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • NHS Digital
  • The Cabinet Office
  • The Department of Transport
  • Public Health England
  • Bristol City Council
  • Bath and Northeast Somerset Council
  • Torfaen Borough Council
  • Blaenau Gwent Borough Council
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • The Royal Navy

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