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Support for government publishers

Government Digital Service
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How to contact GDS

How to contact the Government Digital Service (GDS) if you're a government publisher.

How to contact GDS about GOV.UK

Members of the public should use the support form to contact GDS.

Government publishers should use the GOV.UK Support form to make requests, alert us to technical issues and ask us questions. This helps us manage and prioritise all requests. You’ll need a Signon account to access the form.

How GOV.UK support works

If you have a Signon account, you will be able to access the GOV.UK Support form. This allows you to contact us to:

  • change, delete or add content in areas of GOV.UK published by GDS
  • change tools or smart answers
  • fix bugs in the publishing tools
  • change the product design
  • request a thing, like content advice, a short URL, campaign page or new group
  • request new Whitehall publisher accounts or changes to accounts

Your request will reach us via an online customer request handling system called ‘Zendesk’ – which is why you’ll sometimes hear us refer to requests as ‘Zendesk tickets’.

If you’ve submitted a request via the support form, please don’t also post about it in Basecamp.

For more about what you can request and how to do this see Request a thing.

How to write support requests

You should:

  • only make one request per ticket
  • write in plain English
  • be precise
  • say if there is a deadline
  • explain why it’s important for your users
  • include relevant documents, URLs or screenshots
  • include any relevant evidence to support your request

If you want an update on the progress of your request or you want to provide extra information you should reply to the original email. Don’t submit a new request.

For details of what to include for particular types of request, see Request a thing.

What the GOV.UK team does with requests

We accept and prioritise all requests according to:

  • the strength of the user need
  • the GOV.UK proposition
  • the latest product roadmap (for major product changes)

Response times

We aim to:

  • reply to 80% of enquiries within 2 working days
  • reply to 80% of public enquiries within 5 working days
  • resolve 70% of enquiries for content or product teams within 5 working days

Our response targets apply during business hours (9am to 5pm) and working days (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

If you haven’t had a response to a ticket within one of the target times, then you should update your ticket with a request for information on progress. Please don’t create a new ticket, as this tends just to confuse things.

Emergency response times are an exception to this.

We’ll try to give you a definitive response in this time. If we can’t we’ll let you know.

Closing tickets

We will close a ticket and mark it as ‘solved’ when:

  • it contains more than one request - we’ll ask you to submit a separate ticket for each request
  • we’ve answered the query
  • we’ve agreed to make a change and it’s deployed to the live site
  • we’ve sent content for fact-checking - to avoid 2 lines of conversation about the same piece of content
  • we’ve asked you for more information and haven’t had an answer in 10 working days
  • it’s not something we can commit to prioritise, for example it’s too big to fit within our roadmap, there’s not enough evidence, it doesn’t support best publishing practice or may need user research

Urgent support requests

Urgent issues are things like bugs that affect the site’s usability or your ability to edit and publish content. We scan the requests we’ve received for urgent issues every 2 hours during normal GOV.UK business hours.

If you have an urgent issue you should:

  • submit a request using the GOV.UK Support form for either a content issue or a technical fault
  • write URGENT in the title of the request
  • explain the impact on users if the issue is not resolved immediately

If you can’t publish at a critical time, eg if a publication must go live at the same time as an announcement, the departmental single point of contact (SPOC) should alert GOV.UK by phone. They will need to provide your GOV.UK Support ‘ticket’ number.

If we accept the request, we will immediately allocate resources to fix the problem. However, depending on the complexity of the issue we cannot guarantee a same-day fix.

If we become aware of a problem affecting large numbers of GOV.UK users, we will send an alert to the SPOCs.

Emergency support requests

Emergency support requests are those where the issue is so critical you need to speak to someone at GOV.UK immediately.

For example when:

  • government is facing ‘immediate and significant financial, legal or physical risk’, unless content is changed
  • problems with GOV.UK’s publishing tools mean that government organisations are unable to publish time-critical information

These include:

  • an inaccurate figure in a mainstream guide (eg student loan rates)
  • incorrect application dates for a government scheme
  • misleading information about benefit eligibility
  • removing a link to an online service which has had its security compromised
  • linking to a service on which people are relying for information about their immediate safety (eg flood warnings)

They don’t include:

  • routine updates
  • last-minute publication of factual information on government schemes
  • information about unscheduled service downtime

Emergency support for publishing requests

If you have an emergency relating to publishing to GOV.UK use the emergency telephone numbers. These numbers are on:

You might need to use these emergency numbers when:

  • you need to publish information at a certain time (eg in line with an announcement), and the automated systems have failed
  • sensitive pages have been published in error and need to be unpublished
  • there’s a sudden major change to government organisation or structure, with immediate impact across GOV.UK

Don’t use them to make regular requests like:

  • short URLs
  • general issues with publishing functionality

If you’re unhappy with a decision

If you’re unhappy with a decision, then you should first discuss the issue with your organisation’s SPOC for GOV.UK.

If your SPOC agrees that the GOV.UK decision should be challenged, you should update your ticket with a formal request for it to be escalated. The first line of escalation is typically the GOV.UK Product Manager.