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Prison Visit Booking - Service Assessment

If you're visiting a prison you’ll be able to book using a single service, offering a simpler, faster experience for families, friends and professionals.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Moving to:


Lead Assessor:
N. Williams

Service Manager:
T. Duarte

Digital Leader:
M. Coats

Assessment report

The Prison Visit Booking service is seeking permission to formally launch as a Beta service covering the majority of state-operated prisons, with a start page on GOV.UK.

Outcome of service assessment

GDS are pleased to conclude that the Prison Visit Booking service has shown sufficient progress and evidence of meeting the Digital by Default Service Standard criteria and should proceed to launch as a Beta service on GOV.UK.


It was clear from the assessment that the service has been built around a deep understanding of user needs, that it is meeting those needs successfully and is providing a much improved experience for prisoners, visitors and prison staff alike. GDS were satisfied that the Prison Visit Booking service have given due thought to the safety of the service and involved technical and security experts accordingly, and that they are working in an agile method and are proactively improving the service on an ongoing basis in response to user needs.


For the service to succeed at Live assessment, during the Beta it will be vital that Prison Visit Booking:

  • publish the remainder of the service’s code openly, and ensure that you are using an appropriate licence both for the newly published code and the component of the service you have already open sourced
  • put in place plans to ensure that there will be a permanent team available to iterate and improve the service post go-live, and that this team includes time from a dedicated person with the expertise to gather and gain insight from analytics data
  • evaluate the assisted digital support pilot during beta and ensure that the appropriate levels of support are in place for the live service. This should include:
    • ensuring assisted digital support is made available to all users who need it
    • measuring volumes and cost per minute of assisted digital per channel, and showing they are in line with estimates
    • showing that assisted digital users are aware of support and can access it easily
    • showing positive feedback from users and experts
    • verifying that there is sufficient capacity to deliver phone and face-by-face support, including that external organisations are sufficiently funded to meet demand
    • including messages within the service itself to signpost the available support
  • publish information about the cookies used by the service including their purpose and how long they are stored for (see for more)

Next steps

This service has been given approval to launch as a beta with a start page on GOV.UK. (The service is already on a domain).