Table of contents

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.

Remember: government publishers are the main audience of the page. They’ll 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 proofread and can be customised to most situations.

This is what the Statuspage admin interface looks like:

Create new incident

Incident Name

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.

Example names:

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’.

“Investigating” status

Provide reassurance to publishers that we know about a problem and are working to diagnose it.

Example messages:

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.

“Identified” status

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.

Example messages:

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.

“Monitoring” status

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”.

Example messages:

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.

“Resolved” status

We’ve fixed the issue and everything is back to normal. The incident is closed.

Example messages:

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.

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