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Government Digital Services (GDS)

Providing critical support and maintenance services for a Government ‘super-site’

Support & Maintenance and ongoing development


Syndication from the Government ‘super-site’ Directgov started in June 2010 and has been maintained and developed since then.  The GDS Directgov application scrapes content from the main Directgov site, then parses and reverse engineers a resource model from this scraped content (resources being nouns such as ‘article’, ‘contact’, and ‘keyword’) and uses this resource model as the basis for serving a variety of machine-readable representations of the content (with a human and machine-readable ‘discovery channel’ in the form of XHTML).

As a complex application, it took a while to bed down. However, once the solution was deemed to be stable, GDS decided to put a long-term Support & Maintenance contract in place with Panlogic.

What we did

The key objectives of our S&M contract were to:

  • Maintain the current functionality (which runs on Ruby on Rails)
  • Make small changes to code to allow for changes to direct.gov.uk
  • Maintain search service and indexes
  • Construct bundle queries
  • Develop software and support change (i.e. implementing application changes, testing, rolling the changes into the regular release cycle)
  • Investigating, guiding and fixing product/custom code defects, for example: web content syndication methods, including crawl methods, maintenance of crawler code, content negotiations, common formats such as ATOM/JSON, simple metadata-based queries to ‘package’ content into ‘bundles’


We provide GDS with weekly Service Desk support that features a single point of responsibility and contact for support. We have agreed a flexible support system within an overall framework, which ensures that we will answer/manage calls as per their needs for the duration of the contract. Our web-based ticketing system (inc. workflow and audit trail) ensures that monthly service management reports are easily produced. These detail critical metrics for the client, including the number of incidents/changes/problems per month, as well as root cause analysis, forward change scheduling, allowance/budget tracking and so on.

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