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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technology-code-of-practice/technology-code-of-practice
The Technology Code of Practice is a set of criteria to help government design, build and buy better technology. It’s used as a cross-government agreed standard in the spend control process.
The Technology Code of Practice is part of the Transformation Strategy 2017-2020.
You must follow this code from the start of your technology programme or project.
The purpose of the Technology Code of Practice
Following the Technology Code of Practice will help you gain approval to spend from your department spend control process, or from the GDS Standards Assurance team, avoiding activities that’ll result in your application being rejected. It will also help you introduce technology that:
- meets user needs, based on research with your users
- can be shared across government
- is easily maintained
- scales for future use
- is less dependent on single third-party suppliers
- provides better value for money
The Technology Code of Practice contains guidance and case studies to help you migrate from legacy infrastructure and manage the full lifecycle of your technology. More guidance and case studies will continue to be added.
Using the Technology Code of Practice
You should use the Technology Code of Practice for all of your technology projects or programmes. If your project or programme needs spend control approval you should contact the Government Digital Service (GDS) Standards Assurance team as soon as possible. They’ll guide you through the approvals process which can provide you with greater confidence that your spend request will be approved.
The Technology Code of Practice: collection of related topics collates all the relevant guidance from across government. You can use this to find more information on each Technology Code of Practice topic.
All points of the Technology Code of Practice must be considered. Where legacy technology limits your ability to adhere to the standard, this must be explained as part of the spend control process. The Standards Assurance team consider individual circumstances for each application.
The Technology Code of Practice
1. Define user needs
Understand your users and their needs. Develop knowledge of your users and what that means for your technology project or programme.
2. Make things accessible
Make sure your technology, infrastructure and systems are accessible for users.
3. Be open and use open source
Publish your code and use open source to improve transparency, flexibility and accountability.
4. Make use of open standards
Build technology that uses open standards to ensure your technology works and communicates with other technology, and can easily be upgraded and expanded.
5. Use cloud first
Use public cloud first as stated in the government’s cloud first policy.
6. Make things secure
Keep systems and data safe with the appropriate level of security.
7. Make privacy integral
Make sure citizens’ rights are protected by integrating privacy as an essential part of your system.
8. Share and reuse technology
Promote good practice and avoid duplicated efforts by sharing and reusing services, data and software components.
9. Integrate and adapt technology
Your technology should work with existing technologies, processes and infrastructure in your organisation, and adapt to future demands.
10. Make better use of data
Consider how to minimise data collection and reuse data to avoid duplication of datasets.
11. Define your purchasing strategy
Your purchasing strategy must show you’ve considered commercial and technology aspects, and contractual limitations.
12. Meet the Digital Service Standard for digital services
If you are building a service as part of your technology project or programme you will also need to meet the Digital Service Standard.
Who to contact for help
GDS Standards Assurance team
You can email for help with:
- implementing the Technology Code of Practice
- designing an appropriate strategy for breaking up large systems and services
- evaluating the maturity of the technology market you want to buy from
- identifying opportunities to use common government platforms and components
Crown Commercial Service
You can email for help with buying commodity services through procurement frameworks.
Cabinet Office Complex Transactions Team
You can email for help with:
- simplifying and defining complex sourcing strategies
- planning and organising transactions with suppliers such as contract exits and re-procurements
- leading and supporting negotiations with technology suppliers