"... Also the humility to realise that incumbent civil servants might know something about how complex the requirements really are ... Sadly their default starting position in any conversation I've had with them has always been, "We know how to do this better than you. So, what is it that you do?"
Frankee Llonnygog @ Thursday 12th December 2013 09:26 GMT: GDS consistently alienate the people they're supposed to be working with. People who know how to build and maintain big systems that cannot be replaced with Rails. GDS walk in with the attitude of "we know how to do your job better than you" and "we know what your requirements are".
Anonymous Coward @ Thursday 12th December 2013 17:27 GMT: They are keen to tell their client what to do and pay scant regard to business requirements or needs.
See for example GDS's blog post Submitting to the language of users:
Plain English is mandatory for all of GOV.UK. This means we don’t use formal or long words when easy or short ones will do.
For example, we normally talk about sending something (whether online or in the post), rather than ‘submitting’ it. This is short, clear and unambiguous. It’s also listed in the Plain English Campaign’s A to Z of alternative words.
We’ve recently been working with HMRC on moving VAT content to the ‘mainstream‘ (services and information for citizens and small businesses) part of GOV.UK. In the first draft, we used the plain English ‘sending your VAT return’ across all of this content.
However, our HMRC colleagues felt very strongly that we should change this back to ‘submit’ to match the terminology used on the HMRC website, as this is ‘used frequently and known by VAT businesses’.
GDS were trying to tell HMRC that they shouldn't talk about "submitting a VAT return". In their informed opinion the correct locution is "sending a VAT return".
This must be the very exemplar of prattish inanity.
In what sense can GDS be said to be "helping" HMRC?
The word "submit" is too long and formal, is it? Then how come it occurs several hundred times on GOV.UK? (Enter "submit" in the Search box and start counting.)