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Digital, News, Insights

Digital Services Doing Good: our highlights of the year

In a year that's tested public services, digital design heroes inspire us with their commitment to ethics, trauma-informed solutions, sustainability, data access, and accessibility. Read on to learn from the transformative work.

During these gloomy winter days, and in the midst of national and global crises, it’s easy for pessimism about public services to take hold. But this year we’ve been inspired by the digital design community members that constantly push themselves to do better for public services users- and even to make sure that their good work has a wider impact. Here are five of our favourites.

Digital Services Doing Good: our highlights of the year
  1. Making ethics part of the way we design products and services

The Home Office delivers dozens of services that users interact with at really challenging times. In response to recommendations from the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, the Home Office developed an ethical decision-making toolkit. The Home Office serviced design team took this one step further by creating a toolkit to help service designers build ethics into their work, and have open and honest discussions within a multi-disciplinary team.


  1. Trauma-Informed Design: How we worked together to develop 'Exit this page'

This blog post recounts the collaborative and evidence-based approach taken by the MoJ Digital team to address a high-risk gap in Legal Aid support for Domestic Abuse victims seeking online assistance. Recognizing the heightened risk during the pandemic, the team swiftly developed the 'Exit this page' component, allowing users to discreetly hide sensitive information from perpetrators. Approved by the GOV.UK Design System, it now provides a unified, trauma-aware solution for vulnerable users seeking assistance across government services.


  1. Why we've put sustainability into the NHS digital design principles

A dedicated sustainability working group at NHS England identified four key problem areas for sustainable design: guidance, process and tools, measuring impact, and senior leadership support. To start to tackle this, they created a new principle for NHS Servce Standard: "Design to protect the environment". The community is exploring ways to focus on reusing resources, minimizing data usage, and optimizing server infrastructure. The power of incorporating this into the service standard will help all services to consider the needs of future generations of users. 


  1. How we are improving data discoverability

NHS Digital, in collaboration with the Government Digital Service, is developing the Data Marketplace to facilitate legal and ethical access to government data and make the most of the countless disparate data-sources within the public sector. To enhance data discoverability and support decision-making, the team is starting with a common approach to recording metadata and a series of guidance- but the possibilities for the Data Marketplace are magnificent!


  1. Accessibility: designing an inclusive and barrier-free user experience

This blog features personal stories from three members of Defra's Accessibility team. Chris, a screen reader and magnification user, removes accessibility barriers. Zico, diagnosed with autism, emphasizes the need for accessible design to be the norm. They highlight an easy opportunity for us all to do a bit better: through our email signatures!:

“...if you have an image, does it have alternative text? If there is a link, does it say “click here” or tell you where it will go? This action can start to form a ripple effect that can address other areas of work. It's through many small steps, shared responsibilities and co-ordinated activity that creates and maintains real and lasting change.


The PSC exists to make public services brilliant. We work with our clients, using data science and user centred-design to co-create new digital services, ensuring they deliver strong financial results, are in harmony with teams and working practices, and include everyone. If you would like to speak to our Digital Team please email: or contact us

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