Post a message on the status page
When something goes wrong on GOV.UK we follow our incident management procedure. As part of that we update our status page status.publishing.service.gov.uk.
The page is managed using a third party service called Statuspage.
Use manage.statuspage.io to post messages. The Technical 2nd Line delivery manager can grant you access.
Remember: government publishers are the main audience of the page, although it may also be used publicly depending on the incident. Users will want to know what isn’t working, and how long it will take to fix. Write in non-technical language. Use the pre-written templates, they’ve been proof-read and can be customised to most situations.
This is what the Statuspage admin interface looks like:
This is to say which application is affected and what the fault is. You can update the name, but make sure it’s consistent enough to track throughout the stages of the incident.
Delay in publishing content
Attachments aren’t uploading
Search isn’t working on GOV.UK
Incident Status and Message
When you list an incident, you’ll need to select an ‘incident status’.
Provide reassurance to publishers that we know about a problem and are working to diagnose it.
We’re looking into an issue with Whitehall Publisher which is causing attachment uploads to fail. We’ll update this page as soon as we know what’s causing it.
We’re looking into a delay that’s occurring when trying to publish new content. Your content may appear on the site later than usual.
We’re looking into a problem that means email alerts aren’t being sent out as quickly as they should. We’ll update this page as soon as we know what’s causing it.
This is where we state that we’ve found the problem. Explain what the problem is in as simple terms as possible, and an estimated time to fix.
We’ve found the problem causing the delay in publishing content – it’s caused by the server running too many tasks. We’re working on fixing it and expect it to take approximately 3 hours to fix.
We’ve found out what’s causing the delay to email alerts. There was an error which made the email queue artificially long. We expect it to take one hour to fix.
We’ve fixed the issue - but are keeping an eye on it to make sure it’s properly resolved. State whether there will be a delay to the fix being visible, e.g. “This should start functioning normally again in 20 minutes”.
We’ve fixed the problem that was delaying publishing. We’re going to keep an eye on it for the next hour to make sure it’s resolved.
We’ve fixed the problem that was delaying email alerts. We’re going to keep an eye on it for the next 2 hours to make sure it’s resolved.
We’ve fixed the issue and everything is back to normal. The incident is closed.
The delay in publishing content has been solved. Content will appear on the site as normal.
The problem with the email queue has been fixed. Email alerts should now be working normally.
The problem with the server running too many tasks has been fixed. Attachment uploads should now be back to normal.
The issues we were having with search on GOV.UK have been fixed. Everything should now be working as normal.
The invading alien army has retreated. Everything is fine again.
Posting a status update retrospectively (“Backfilling”)
Sometimes it may be necessary to post a status update after an incident has been resolved.
- Tick the
- Add the date of the incident and a suitable description. Bear in mind when writing the message that it will automatically be marked as resolved.
When backfilling a status update, subscribers will not be notified. It will update relevant Slack channels though.
On 30 to 31 May 2022 users of GOV.UK were unable to subscribe and unsubscribe from email alerts to page changes.