https://gdstechnology.blog.gov.uk/2018/05/01/introducing-the-gds-consulting-technical-architects/

Introducing the GDS Consulting Technical Architects

A group of consulting technical architects in a huddle

The Consulting Technical Architect team is part of the Service Design and Assurance group at GDS. Read on to find out who we are, what we do and how we can help your organisation.

Who are the GDS Consulting Technical Architects and what do we do?

GDS currently has 10 consulting technical architects and we’re still recruiting. Our goal is to help deliver the Government Transformation Strategy - particularly the business transformation aspect.

Our work usually starts through the Cabinet Office spend controls process. We work closely with senior technology advisers to assess the technical and implementation details of upcoming projects and see where these initiatives fit in with existing technology and platforms. Additionally, we advise and support government organisations spending public money on digital or technology services to help them:

The variety and scope of our work requires us to act as coaches, assessors, troubleshooters, sounding boards and critical friends - although not all at the same time!

Promoting cross-government collaboration

Building relationships across government is a big part of being a consulting technical architect as this helps us to share and implement the best technical solutions.

We arrange monthly “clinic” visits, set up cross-departmental workshops to establish common approaches and sit on technical or data design authority boards to help nurture these cross-government relationships.

A typical day as a consulting architect is varied. One day we might be attending a service assessment at a department in Leeds and delivering feedback to the development team. Another day we’ll be talking to a user research lead about how to define and segment services. And of course we’ll spend time embedded within departments, helping them transform their procurement using a value chain mapping process, for example.

Our team aims to do the hard work to make things simple. A key advantage that our central team of department-facing architects have is that we have visibility of what happens across government. For example, if a service team is struggling with an aspect of moving production services to a public cloud environment, we can arrange for them to shadow another government team with a good record in doing so, like DVSA. If a team is designing a new API-driven service layer, maybe a meeting with HMRC or DWP will help. And if we hear a question about securing sensitive data in the cloud, we can arrange a chat with colleagues at the Home Office.

Get in touch with us

Over the last few months, we’ve worked with HMRC, the Department of Health, the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Trade. In addition to ministerial departments, we also work with executive agencies and other arms-length or public bodies like the British Transport Police, Driver and Vehicle License Agency (DVLA), NHS Digital and the Big Lottery.

The earlier we’re engaged with an organisation’s project, the better placed we are to help because we can recognise duplication of effort across government. We can frequently work with public bodies to help them save money and consider emerging technologies. Sometimes it’s just helpful to have the ear of a critical friend and we can provide that too.

If you’d like to find out more about how consulting technical architects at GDS can help your organisation, leave a comment below or email cta-mailbox@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk.

If this sounds like a good place to work, take a look at Working for GDS - we're usually in search of talented people to come and join the team.