GDS proposes more flexibility for GOV.UK Notify

The Government Digital Service (GDS) wants to provide public sector organisations with more flexibility and features when using the GOV.UK Notify platform to send messages.

As outlined in a blog post, the plan includes the introduction of additional features, personal branding and a new hosting provider. 

GDS has updated its product strategy to set the direction for Notify’s growth across three broad goals. 

The first goal is to scale up operations, which will involve letting users set up their own branding, complete basic tasks such as changing authentication methods without GDS support and allowing users with special organisational permissions to make services live.

There will also be a new hosting provider following the announcement that GOV.UK PaaS will be decommissioned by the end of this year.

The second goal is to retain existing users by providing more features like better support for Welsh users and additional formatting when sending messages from outside of the domain. There will also be a focus on improving reporting and data capabilities and setting a competitive price for SMS notifications that meet GDS technical and security requirements.

The third goal seeks to attract new users by extending Notify’s proposition to high-volume central government teams and those users with low or no access to Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) capabilities - those who needs the platform does not currently meet. 

To achieve this, GDS plans to explore new functionality like integrations with other channels, more complex two-way communication, as well as integrations with other GDS products, such as GOV.UK Forms.

Since is launch in 2016, Notify adoption has grown rapidly. It is currently used by 7,343 services in 1,488 organisations, according to the latest figures published by GDS. 

International reach

Notify is a shining example of cross-government data sharing and the importance of good digital infrastructure. More than that, the decision made by the GDS team to share their learnings, make their code open and to use interoperable standards, has allowed other governments around the world to use GOV.UK Notify as a reliable foundation for better communication with the public.

Based on the UK model, Canada was able to quickly set up a similar Notify model in 2019. In just over three years, it has been adopted by 321 services to send over 75 million notifications.

In Australia, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has developed its own version of the UK Notify model. 

Government Transformation Playbook

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