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Service delivery manual

  • Role: Designer and developer
  • Organisation: Home Office

Every Government department delivers services in different ways, using different tools and ways of working. Guidance is rarely in the same place. And not everyone in the organisation will have access. This leads to teams wasting time and effort finding out how to do the things they need in order to deliver services to their users.

Guidance in one place

Working as part of the design operations team at the Home Office, we formed a small team to tackle this problem. The team was made up of a content designer and myself. Our goal was to gain an understanding of all the things a team needs to deliver a service. And to make that knowledge available in a simple, easy to access form.

Research with teams

I initially ran user research with our head of research to find out where teams struggled and what guidance they needed to be able to design and build services. We found teams struggling to understand what was needed to deliver services and how to find guidance that would help them.

From this initial research, we created a list of needs and started to identify the tools and guidance teams needed to meet these needs.

We took inspiration from the excellent cross-Government service manual. The service manual has a lot of information to help teams deliver services. Our guidance filled the gaps for Home Office specific problems. And where possible we linked out to the service manual as reducing duplication was one of the goals of the project.


One of the key takeaways from this piece of work was that Cross-Government guidance and Home office guidance were not always easily distinguishable from one another. If government worked perfectly this wouldn’t have been an issue. But no government is and one Government department can behave in very different ways to another.

We have found that users can become confused moving between guidance in Government. The majority of the guidance is visually identical as it uses the same GOV.UK design language. This work benefitted hugely from another piece of work I led to create a strong design language for none services.

Service delivery manual
The old design of the delivery manual
The new delivery manual
The old design of the delivery manual
The old design of the delivery manual