A service assessment is a peer review of a transactional service to check it meets the 14 points of the Service Standard.

A transactional service is any service which allows users to:

  • create or update information stored by government
  • exchange money, goods, and services
  • make a request

All transactional services need to have a service assessment. Getting assessed is a condition of your Cabinet Office spend approval.

Some non-transactional, or information services, may also need to be assessed. The service assessment team can help understand what type of assessment may be suitable.

Service assessments happen at the end of alpha, private beta and live phases. If you are in the discovery phase, you can have a discovery peer review.

What happens during an assessment

Service assessments in DfE are 4 to 5 hours long and a common approach is:

  • up to 20 minutes talking about the service and the team
  • up to an hour demonstrating the service
  • panel and team questions and answers

The panel is made up of 4 or 5 assessors. This includes a lead assessor, user researcher, designer and technical lead. There are often people observing who may be training to become an assessor. They do not get involved in the assessment itself and will have their camera off.

Who is on the assessment panel

If your service is expected to have more than 100,000 transactions per year or the users of the service are from more than one government department, the panel will be made up of assessors from across government.

Otherwise, the panel will be made up of DfE assessors.

The outcome of an assessment

The service will be assessed as ‘met’ or ‘not met’.

‘Not met’ means the service needs to be reassessed against the points it did not meet.

In DfE service assessments, the service may get a ‘met with conditions’. This means it may need to be reassessed on the not-met points before progressing to the next phase, or demonstrate how this has been resolved at the next assessment.

The team will get an assessment report within 5 working days.

How to book a service assessment

Email the DfE service assessment team at serviceassessment.plus@education.gov.uk. You can also contact them to ask questions and get advice about the assessment process.

Include the following information in your email:

  • project name
  • project code, this can be found on the DDaT tracker (opens intranet page in new tab). Check with your DDaT business partner if you cannot find the code
  • the date or week you would like your assessment. Assessments usually take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

You’ll need to book the assessment at least 6 weeks before the date you want it to take place, so that the assessment team has time to prepare and set up the panel.