12. Encourage maximum usage of the digital service (with assisted digital support if required).

The purpose of this point is to enable maximum take-up of digital services.

It is important that as many people as possible use our digital services to find information or complete their dealings with us in ways that are convenient to them and are cost effective for us to provide.

Use of our digital services is known as ‘take-up’ and is measured by the percentage of people using online services instead of other channels, such as letters or telephone. You must plan to continually increase digital take-up and show that you are measuring it.

When going live with a new digital service, it should be promoted in a way that encourages people to use the digital channel. You should use customer insight to target communications using digital and non-digital communication methods appropriate to your customer groups. Staff delivering the service must also fully understand the digital service and how they should promote its use to customers.

Whilst meeting users’ needs is covered in Points 1 and 10 of the Standard, it must also be considered as a factor to increase digital take-up.

To help increase digital take-up on an ongoing basis it is important to find out why people aren’t using the digital service, to gain an understanding of how they currently interact with the service, and why they prefer non-digital methods.

For both initial and ongoing take-up, it is important to undertake research to understand how people will need help to use the digital service, ie, they don’t have the skills or access to do so on their own. This is called Assisted Digital Support.

In addition, the digital services must be as inclusive as possible so as not to exclude anyone from using them based on disability. This is called service accessibility.

There are many ways to initiate and increase digital take-up, measure the increase, provide assisted digital support and make sure your digital service meets the accessibility standard. They are documented in the Helping people to use your service, the Measuring digital take-up, the Assisted digital support and the Making your service accessible sections of the Government Service Design Manual


The Standard was launched on 7 April 2016.

This guidance was last amended on 17 June 2016 as part of Service Standard Sprint #1.

You can read more about the Standard here.

All content in this guide is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated.