Minimise service downtime and have a plan to deal with it when it does happen.

Why it’s important

Users expect to be able to use online services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Many users have limited choice over how and when they access government services. For example, they may be a carer who only has time to apply for benefits in the early hours of the morning.

If a service is unavailable or slow, it can mean those users aren’t able to get the help they need.

How you do it

  • Define non-functional requirements
    Establish when the service needs to be available, how many people are expected to use it at busy times and what impact any down-time might have
  • Carry out quality assurance testing regularly
    Establish system quality attributes for features and non-functional requirements and have a plan in place to deal with issues
  • Test the service
    Test the service in an environment that’s as similar to live as possible
  • Plan for major events
    Have a plan for disaster recovery in the event of a breach or major event that could disrupt service delivery
  • Maximise uptime and speed of response for the online part of the service
    Actively work towards fixing any organisational or contractual issues which make it difficult to maximise availability
  • Deploy software changes regularly without significant downtime
    Use automated end-to-end testing to ensure the service functions as designed and to protect against introducing regression as you continually improve the service