Alpha phase (Government & NHS Service Standard)

Our Service Standard Alpha phase tests the riskiest assumptions to progress a digital service, following discovery. 

Our range of research, technical and prototyping activities are designed to help teams make the best decisions about how to progress, and conform with the Government or NHS Service Standards, and Technology Code of Practice.

Get in touch

We’re always happy have a chat about your plans, or potential projects.

We can help you to:

  • Riskiest assumptions explored to guide decisions about how to progress
  • Prototypes explore the more challenging aspects of a service
  • Explore viable technology options to meet business and user needs
  • Observe research and interactions with your actual service users
  • Understand how well user needs can be met
  • Actionable outputs to progress (e.g. to a beta)
  • Clear next steps to confidently proceed to a build phase
  • Delivered by Government and NHS Service Standard specialists
  • A highly collaborative approach with in-house teams

How we do it:

  • Develop experiments and investigations to confirm or disprove hypotheses
  • Co-design concept prototypes to meet prioritised user needs
  • Develop coded prototypes and test them with users for feedback
  • Explore prioritised technology options
  • Recruit user research participants
  • Conduct user interviews, observations, workshops, surveys, card-sorts, and usability tests
  • Analyse stakeholder, business, subject expert, and policy needs
  • Map current user experience, performance, governance, data, content, and technology
  • Conduct user research to explore digital inclusion and accessibility needs
  • Reprioritise the backlog of user needs for each service user persona

Who do we help

Any team needing discovery evidence, or about to embark on a Government or NHS Service Standard Alpha for their current or prospective digital service.

  • Any service owners responsible for a digital service
  • UK Government departments and arms length bodies
  • Local government
  • NHS bodies
  • Health, education and workforce providers


Read case studies from some of the alpha phases we’ve delivered:

How to work with us

We’re on the Digital Marketplace Outcomes and Specialists and G-Cloud 13 frameworks offering our discovery, service design and user research services.

Get in touch

We’re always happy to have a chat about your plans, or potential projects.

Helen Taylor

Or phone: 01509 351040


  • ~£50k – £150k (depending on what is needed)

“The [Lagom] team were very organised and insightful about a large range of topics including GDS assessments. I felt supported by them throughout.” 

– Product Owner, Department for Transport

Why Lagom?

We draw on our experience of working with 40+ teams to deliver Service Standard discovery and alpha phases over the last 10 years, so we know what it takes to run an effective alpha phase (and the pitfalls to avoid).

Our team includes former civil servant digital specialists who ran digital services in Government departments, so we understand the challenges of navigating policy, assurance and commercial hurdles to get the discovery you need.

We are independently owned, technology-agnostic, and don’t build things: so you can trust our recommendations are truly objective, best value, and above all, user-centred.

Stephen Hale

“The best alpha teams make full use of assembled expertise to quickly to test (or disprove) ideas, before committing to them.”

– Stephen Hale, Lagom Strategy

Who we’ve worked with