GDS outlines plan for One Login to be a green digital service

Government Digital Services (GDS) is making changes to its One Login system as part of its ambition to be "one of the most sustainable government digital services in operation."

Writing in a blogpost, Director of Digital Identity at GDS, Natalie Jones, outlined plans to reduce carbon emissions from the use of the system.

One Login allows users to access government services using a single username and password and one identity check, The system currently emits approximately 200 tonnes of CO2e annually, though this is expected to grow as the user base grows.

Jones said they have now developed a baseline from the page weights and app sizes of One Login, and are considering ways to monitor and manage the emissions.

"It's taken us nearly four months to get a baseline!" she adds. "Which goes to show how hard it’s been to get data, and tooling and figure out how to come up with numbers that are robust. We think our numbers are probably under estimates and we’ll continue to refine them."

A roadmap of activities 

Having developed a baseline, GDS are starting to build out a prioritised roadmap of activities to reduce carbon emissions and put in place better tools to monitor emissions on an ongoing basis.

This includes: hosting images and fonts on shared domain so the user only has to download the assets once, removing some unused cloud assets, and minimising unnecessary data storage.  

GDS is planning to take these learnings and roll out similar activities on GOV.UK itself. 

Jones said she is “passionate about understanding how we can make sustainability one of the factors all government digital teams consider when they’re making design or technical choices.” 

She added that in One Login “we have the glimmer of an idea that in order to do this teams will need a set of simple tools and processes they can apply and as we collaborate with GOV.UK teams on calculating their footprint we’ll be adding to our lessons learned around how to measure things effectively and efficiently.” 

New exclusive research from Government Transformation Magazine and Kin + Carta, sheds some light on levels of preparedness for decarbonising government. 

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