Skip to content

In August, GDS announced the decommissioning of GOV.UK Platform as a Service by December 2023. GOV.UK PaaS is/was part of the Government as a Platform (GaaP) group of products, platforms and services designed to tackle common problems faced by Departments and public sector bodies.

It allowed them to reuse or ‘plug in’ (massive over simplification) functionality designed and built to government standards. This leaves PAY and Notify as GDS’ core platforms. It would seem they are now fully focused on the development of new platforms Forms builder (which just launched in private Beta) and the GOV.UK One Login programme; the latter being something that has the potential to transform the way citizens interact with government.

A group of diverse colleagues in an office setting watching a presentation
man and woman talking at a table in an office

Here at Hitachi Solutions, we have partnered with Microsoft to put together a PaaS – Azure migration package for the public sector.

Edward Pickett

GDS’ rationale for its closure after 8 years was that Departments have matured significantly and are now able to manage their own infrastructure. Interestingly my old Department (Trade) was one of, if not the foremost customer of PaaS – its adoption significantly increased our development velocity, capacity and reduced our costs. And whilst I don’t doubt that there are many organisations that no longer need it, I will maintain a certain degree of scepticism that the entire public sector has acquired the engineering and architectural prowess to build and manage this tech for themselves. To me, it feels more like a platform that never quite realised its true potential, and as is often the case in the public sector, never quite achieved its commercial promise.

The platform itself was a great bit of engineering, and in its relatively short life enabled more than 60 departments, agencies and local authorities supporting 172 digital services. Interestingly the same tech is used by the US Government ‘’ I’ve discovered a few interesting things:

  • UK PaaS was really very popular among its core user base
  • That it allowed developers to prototype at pace giving them freedom to innovate
  • That CDIOs liked it (not all) because of its potential to increase velocity and save money
  • That post Verify and PaaS, GDS may have a bit of work to do with the launches of Forms and One Login to convince users that if adopted, these platforms will be maintained in the long term.

So, what next…well PaaS users have 14 months ish to migrate to a new hosting solution. This comes at the same time as the public sector is unpacking new priorities, and potentially wrestling with reductions in headcount. It has been great to see how some organisations I have spoken to are already on the front foot, creating their own hosting solutions and putting plans in place to migrate products and services.

Here at Hitachi Solutions, we have partnered with Microsoft to put together a PaaS – Azure migration package for the public sector. Throughout November we are running Webinars hosted by our Azure Cloud Solutions team, supported by architects experienced in GOV.UK PaaS migration. The sessions will cover

  • What we’ve learnt from GOV.UK PaaS and how we will build on what worked well
  • The benefits of moving to Azure
  • Our Approach including Discovery and Azure technical and capability assessments
  • How to leverage data within Azure
  • Migration / App Modernisation
  • What does platform support look like for internal teams
  • Azure migration funding packages available through our Microsoft partnership
  • We really hope these sessions are useful. You can sign up to them here (I recommend only joining one!)

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you want to find out more about our offer, or if you just want to chat through anything I have written about.

Edward Pikett

Author Spotlight

Edward Pikett

Ed has dedicated his entire career to designing and delivering public digital services. He is an advocate of simplicity, transparency, and creativity, having spent over a decade in the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office and more recently as Chief Digital Officer for the Department for International Trade. He now leads and supports our central government function.