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There are a few things you’ll need to consider when thinking about whether you want to become a Service Standard assessor.

Who sits on an assessment panel

Assessment panels are made up of the following types of assessor:

  • user research
  • design - any type of designer with the relevant experience can do this role, including content designers
  • technology
  • analytics

Each panel also has a lead assessor. This is either a very experienced specialist assessor, or a service or product owner confident in all aspects of multidisciplinary team working.

Lead assessors are responsible for:

  • setting the tone of the assessment
  • managing discussions, including any areas of disagreement

They also have the casting vote if the panel are undecided on what the outcome of an assessment should be.

What being an assessor involves

Most people who take part in service assessments do so alongside their day job. So you’ll need to decide whether you’ve got the capacity to do it.

Assessments usually last about 4 hours. Usually, the service team presents and demonstrates their service, and then assessors ask questions and talk to the team about how their service meets the Service Standard.

You can read more about what usually happens at a service assessment.

As well as making time for the assessment itself, you’ll need to commit a few hours to:

  • before the assessment, familiarising yourself with the service you’ll be looking at
  • writing up your section of the assessment report

You might need to travel to attend assessments, especially if you’re looking to assess services outside of your own department.

Most assessors do roughly one assessment a month.

All of these things mean that being an assessor is a big commitment.

One way of making sure you can allocate enough time to it is to do assessments as your corporate objective. This allows you to set aside a few hours each month for assessments.

Why it’s good to be an assessor

While it’s a significant time commitment, being an assessor is very worthwhile.

It’s great for the teams being assessed to know they’re being assessed by one of their peers - someone who understands the sort of environment they’re working in and the constraints they’re likely to be facing.

It’s also a really good way to spread your knowledge around your community. Being an assessor involves more than just pointing out what teams have done well - it’s also about coaching them through the things they need to improve.

And it helps you see what’s out there, including what’s being developed across government and the sorts of circumstances different teams and departments are working in. It’ll give you ideas you can take back to your day job and make you a more rounded practitioner.

How to become an assessor

The process for becoming an assessor depends on what type of assessor you want to be.

You should always start by contacting the person or team in your department in charge of assurance, if you have one. They usually have a process for working out whether you’ve got the right amount of experience and can set you up as an internal assessor within your department.

If you want to assess services across government, you’ll also need to contact the Government Digital Service (GDS) at dbd-assessments@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk.

In your email, you’ll need to include:

  • details of how long you’ve been in your role and why you’d make a good assessor
  • an endorsement from your department’s head of community or profession, or line manager

You’ll get an email back to tell you what happens next. In the meantime, it’s useful to start familiarising yourself with the Service Standard and what happens at an assessment.

Published by:
Standards and assurance community
Last update:

Guidance first published