Table of contents

The GDS Way and its content is intended for internal use by the GDS community.

Support Operations

The Support Operations team help GDS service teams resolve technical incidents. The team uses the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and the GDS Incident Management Framework to restore normal operations after an incident and minimise the impact on users.

How to define incidents

You should define the incident priority levels for your service applications. Potential incidents include:

  • security vulnerabilities
  • data or security breaches
  • system access problems
  • wider technical failures, with possible reputational impact to GDS

Your support team should assign a priority level to an incident based on its complexity, urgency and how long it could take to fix. The severity of an incident also determines the response time and the level of support required.

Incident priority table

Classification Type Example Response time Update frequency
P1 Critical Complete outage 20 minutes (office and out of hours) 1 hour
P2 Major Substantial degradation of service 60 minutes (office and out of hours) 2 hours
P3 Significant Users experiencing intermittent or degraded service due to platform issue 2 hours (office hours only) Once after 2 business days
P4 Minor Component failure that does not immediately 1 business day (office hours only) Once after 5 business

How to manage incidents

GDS teams provide support in 3 groups, known as ‘lines’, for each product.

1st line user support

1st line support provide resolution for basic user enquiries and triage frequent, repeatable incidents. For example, issues signing in.

2nd line technical support

2nd line support provide direct incident resolution and triage user requests. For example, when users receive timeout errors or performance is issues.

3rd line product teams

3rd line support are technical specialists associated with an existing product team. Their involvement in incident management is limited to the diagnosis and resolution of more complex incidents, such as a data or security breach, or a complete service outage.


Support Operations require GDS teams to use Zendesk to manage communications with service users. Support Operations work with GDS teams to help manage Zendesk setup and configuration, for example with:

Support Operations dashboard

Support Operations use a dashboard to show availability, performance and support-service-level data, such as incident resolution times.

The dashboard gives an easy way to show how Support Operations meet service-level objectives for both GOV.UK user support and GDS service teams. The dashboard shows metrics related to end users, for example service levels and the average amount of contact from users.

The Support Operations dashboard pulls data from a variety of sources including Zendesk, other government performance dashboards such as web traffic on GOV.UK, and service status pages like GOV.UK Platform as a Service (PaaS).

How to contact Support Operations

You can contact the Support Operations team using the #user-support Slack channel.

This page was last reviewed on 12 September 2018. It needs to be reviewed again on 12 March 2019 by the page owner #gds-way .
This page was set to be reviewed before 12 March 2019 by the page owner #gds-way. This might mean the content is out of date.