GOV.UK Forms enters 'early access' phase

The Government Digital Services (GDS) has launched the early access phase of its new form builder platform GOV.UK Forms with new features. 

The tool, which has been in beta phase since April 2022, will help rid old-style pdf forms and make it easier for government departments to build digital services.

During its latest early access phase, anyone who works in central government and has a email address can try out using GOV.UK Forms by creating a trial account.

“So far, we’ve been working closely with 11 private beta partners and over 60% have already published forms,” Iain Boyd and Irina Pencheva, Engagement Lead and Lead Product Manager at GOV.UK Forms, wrote in a blog post. “We’ve published 17 forms and we’ve got a pretty healthy pipeline of more forms being worked on. Our remaining partners are all getting closer to publishing their first forms which is hugely encouraging too."

The tool puts control in the hands of policy and operations teams, enabling them to react quickly to changing circumstances and adapt policy implementation easily. 

Amanda Dahl, Deputy Director, Digital Service Platforms, GDS said: “It’s ourAmanda Dahl vision that all forms on GOV.UK will be accessible, easy to use and quick to process. This isn’t an easy goal - there are almost 10,000 document-based forms, most of which need to be transformed. GOV.UK Forms is making this vision real!

"Our product team has done a stellar job of creating research-backed solutions to real user problems, releasing value for the civil service and UK society. This is transformation and this team is on fire!”

New features 

GOV.UK Forms now has an array of features already available with more being developed. These include a feature that allows for detailed guidance, as well as formatting, like bullet points, subheadings and links. Autofill is also available, allowing a user's browser to automatically suggest information they’ve provided on other websites. 

Another new feature sends confirmation emails to people who have filled out a form using an integration with GOV.UK Notify. Another allows form managers to see simple form metrics, including weekly completion rates and form submissions, allowing them to manage and to iterate forms. 

Next steps

The tool is expected to move into public beta, where anyone working in central government will be able to use the product in a self-service way, by Spring 2024. 

Before then, it will be integrated with GOV.UK Pay so people filling out forms can make payments using a payment link. There will also be an added functionality that allows users to include additional answers to the same question, a common pattern used on around 35% of government forms. 

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