Technology Assurance Framework – what we learned from Digital Standard Assessments in 2022/23  

October 18, 2023 by No Comments | Category Digital Assurance Office, Digital Scotland, Digital Scotland Service Standard

Guest blog by Laura Johnstone, Continuous Improvement team, Digital Assurance Office

In 2022/23 28 Digital Standard Assessments were completed under the Technology Assurance Framework (TAF).  The Digital Assurance Office, who administer the TAF, want to share the lessons learned from our assurance reviews.  This blog shares our insights on the areas that presented the most challenge to projects going through a Digital Standard Assessment in 2022/23.

This is the second guest blog from the Digital Assurance Office, you can also read their first blog about what they learned from Major Digital Project Reviews in 2022/23.

Digital standard assessments

New and transformed services are assessed against the Digital Scotland Service Standard criteria. The criteria that were most challenging for service teams to meet in 2022/23 are described below alongside recommendations made as part of the assessment for improvement.

Areas for improvement

Criteria 3 – Design and deliver a joined-up experience

Be responsible for the whole service – this means the end to end experience from a user’s perspective including the citizen facing experience, internal systems, people and processes and taking account of supporting policy or legislation.  Make sure you are going to test from end to end and that the online and offline journey are same.  Have a plan in place to collect feedback and prioritise improvements.

Criteria 4 – Help users succeed first time

Make sure you are testing the full service with all users, including those with low digital confidence.  Have an end to end testing strategy across all channels.  Make sure you test the name of the service.

Criteria 5 – Make sure everyone can use the service

Test the accessibility of the service with a range of users.  Make sure that diverse perspectives are considered in service design so that it’s inclusive.  Use simple language and test the content to make sure it meets requirements.

Criteria 7 – Iterate and improve frequently

Put appropriate governance structures in place that deliver continuous improvement.  Make plans for delivery and improvements.  Ensure that user needs are influencing the product backlog.  Make sure test strategies and plans are in place.

Criteria 9 – Define what success looks like and publish performance data

Understand what success for the service looks like and how you will know and show it has been achieved.  Make sure there is a continuous loop from data to improvement.  Ensure that options for publishing performance information has been explored.  Describe how the service will support the delivery of the National Outcomes.

Criteria 14 – Ensure sponsor acceptance

Have good governance structures with routes for escalation, decision making and managing risk. Put in place and keep up to date communication plans for the service.

The Digital Assurance Office are working with organisations who have had assurance through the TAF to share insights which might help others deliver digital projects.

If you want to get involved – or have thoughts on what insights would be helpful to share – contact us at:

For advice on designing and delivering high quality digital services visit: Scottish Government Digital Support Hub (DSH)

For further information and signposting to advice and support on programme and project management contact the Programme and Project Management Centre for Expertise.

The Scottish Government programme and project management principles are available and apply to any project of any size.

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