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Apply for a Design - Self Certification

The Apply for a Design service is a new online service that enables people or businesses to apply for the registration of a design.

Design rights refer to the appearance, physical shape, configuration and decoration of a product. The product can be registered by the owner to prevent other people copying or stealing it.

Registering a design gives you exclusive rights to use it for up to 25 years and makes taking legal action against infringement and copying more straightforward.

Department / Agency:
BIS / Intellectual Property Office

Date of Assessment:

Assessment stage:

Result of Assessment:

Lead Assessor:
M. Fairhurst

Service Manager:
L. Adams

Digital Leader:
T. Knighton

Assessment Report

The Apply for a Design service has been reviewed against the 26 points of the digital by default service standard at the end of the Alpha development. It should be noted that it was only the web application that was assessed and the back office application was deemed out of scope.

After consideration the assessment panel have concluded that the part of the service which was assessed is on track to meet the service standard at this stage of development.

Areas of good performance against the standard

User needs

The assessment panel were pleased to see that user needs are being considered, with a wide range of user research across their user demographic; individuals, SME’s and a small number of users who specialise in design rights.


The team are clearly focused on designing a service that will be simple and intuitive for users, clearly based on adopting consistent GOV.UK styling and language. They have performed a great deal of insight looking at language, and since October 2014 have used this insight not only to iterate on the Alpha service, but also to make changes to the legislation supporting the service to enable digital transformation and overall efficiencies. Changes to the paper form alone has resulted in a reduction of first time rejects from 88% to 47%. There is also a clearly described strategy for digital by default adoption, making a digital service so good that users prefer to use it, leading to organisational and user efficiencies.

The team

A good multi-disciplinary team is in place, driven by an empowered service manager. The service manager is new to the position and its responsibilities, but clearly has all the skills necessary to fulfil the role and is enthusiastically moving the service into the Beta phase.


User needs

It was agreed that during the Beta phase that users on the lower spectrum of the digital inclusion scale would be identified, and the service tested with them. It was also agreed that specific research would be undertaken to investigate needs from the 16% of users who stated they would not use an online service. Both sets of research would be instrumental in agreeing the assisted digital (AD) strategy. It is strongly encouraged that during Beta, the team should have users embedded within the development team so that the service can be iterated frequently. The team will also benefit from building a relationship with real users rather than being detached via a research group.

Open source

The code has not been open sourced. As there are no barriers to opening up reusable assets, and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) are happy to do so, the panel recommends that it should be considered and implemented during the Beta phase.

Assisted digital

The team have started to define the assisted digital strategy but this needs further work and will need to be put in place for the Beta phase. A number of options are under consideration and need to be finalised into the strategy. It was recommended that IPO should engage initially with IPO’s AD lead and then, if required, with the GDS Assisted Digital team to assist with this work.

Analysis and benchmarking

More robust analytic tools will need to be employed for the Beta phase to measure service take-up and performance against success criteria. The plan to use PIWIK would be deemed a necessity by the assessment panel. The panel commended the ongoing dialogue with the Performance Platform for IPO services.


It was noted by the team that the service specifically focused on the capture of information but lacked the ability for a user to “monitor” the submission once made. Without this facility, the issue of avoidable calls and progress-tracking updates will remain unresolved for IPO and users. There is a strategic programme of work underway geared towards transforming IPO digitally, which is looking at these specific features globally, “MYIPO” for example. The team felt that as part of Beta, a much clearer plan of these integration points is required to provide assurance that the full user journey has been considered and presents a good, consistent user experience.

Digital by Default Service Standard criteria

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 Yes
3 Yes 4 Yes
5 Yes 6 Yes
7 Yes 8 Yes
9 Yes 10 Yes
11 Yes 12 Yes
13 Yes 14 Yes
15 Yes 16 Yes
17 Yes 18 Yes
19 Yes 20 Yes
21 Yes 22 Yes
23 Yes 24 Yes
25 Yes 26 N/A
Details of criteria that are not applicable to this service
26 – not applicable to service with fewer than 100k transactions p.a.