GOV.UK brexit business readiness
Product design direction for Government Digital Service
2019 — 2019
The UK leaving the EU will impact almost every single area of regulation the country has. The initial plan for implementing brexit had delegated responsibility for making and communicating those changes to the UK’s 100s of government departments, but following an election, a new cohort of politicians (probably correctly) identified this as an impending disaster. In response, they gave GOV.UK 10 days to deliver something that could tie these fragmented departmental responses into something coherent so that businesses could have a chance to work out how they would be affected by brexit, giving them as much time as possible to prepare.
Due to the re-platforming and taxonomy work we’d been doing on GOV.UK since 2015, a lot of the bones for something like this already existed. We created an ad hoc, Brexit-specific subject taxonomy, tagging the hundreds of Brexit guidance and policy documents so they could be seen together for the first time. A short, accessible form built around the various characteristics that would be affected gave us a way to collect the information we needed to tell businesses what they needed to know. Using GOV.UK Notify, businesses could get updates as Brexit negotiations progressed. Taken together, these features also meant that central Brexit planning teams could identify gaps in the preparations, and get a better sense of what areas of the negotiations would have the largest consequences for UK businesses.
I did the initial product concepts for this work in response to the request from Downing Street, exploring how we could adapt and hack the GOV.UK platform. I then worked with a small multidisciplary team to sketch, prototype and launch the service within a sprint. A lot of takeout food, a lot of late nights. After the initial launch, I led the product direction across five agile, multidisciplinary teams through a further two sprints as GOV.UK scaled up the first release to serve additional user groups and integrate with an external ad-campaign creative. See also: GOV.UK step-by-step and replatforming and the GOV.UK Design System
Initial sprint designing and prototyping with Tom Byers, Dilwoar Hussain and a small multidisciplinary team. Further sprints scaled up to several teams with design from Mia Allers, Will Harmer, Kate Ivey-Williams and Sonia Turcotte. Illustrations from Engine Group