The Hill gets serious about digital services

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The House of Representatives is launching a digital services team, after recommendations from the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

The House of Representatives is getting a new digital services team in 2022, the House

Chief Administrative Officer announced on Thursday in testimony before the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

"Our intention is to leverage fellows from other agencies and the private sector – as appropriate – and expand the House Digital Service team over time," Catherine L. Szpindor, House Chief Administrative Officer, said in prepared testimony for a Jan. 20 committee hearing.

Team members will be chosen for skills in "customer relations…business analysis, design and implementation," Szpindor said. The team will be charged with both identifying tech challenges facing members of Congress and proposing solutions, as well as "leveraging modern development stacks to rapidly prototype and build production-grade software and deliver better products and services to the House."

One early project for the team will be implementing a new platform, currently in the acquisition phase, to support member and staff engagement and relations with constituents. The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer is in the market for a cloud-based commercial solution to support member offices.

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress had previously recommended the establishment of a Congressional Digital Services Task Force to determine the demand and need for a digital services organization to serve members of Congress and to support the legislature's internal operations. 

Travis Moore, founder of the Congressional Services Fellowship, praised the move on Twitter.

"You won't see it in any flashy press releases or headlines, but it's a big, big deal and a direct result of the great work of our Congressional Digital Service Fellows."

"Glad to see Congress investing in itself to better serve constituents," said Chris Kuang, the founder of the non-profit Coding it Forward who is now working inside the government to develop the U.S. Digital Corps