Unlocking Generative AI: A framework for HM Government

The Government’s latest framework for the application of generative AI across various government departments aims to establish a unified and responsible approach to the technology’s safe, responsible, and effective use in government.

The ‘Generative AI framework for HM Government’ introduced by the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) in January has produced 10 principles for departments to use, with a primary focus on ensuring the ethical and responsible application of generative AI. techUK has broken down these principles and the potential opportunities AI brings to government departments. 

10 principles

Principle 1: You know what generative AI is and what its limitations are

Principle 2: You use generative AI lawfully, ethically and responsibly

Principle 3: You know how to keep generative AI tools secure

Principle 4: You have meaningful human control at the right stage

Principle 5: You understand how to manage the full generative AI lifecycle

Principle 6: You use the right tool for the job

Principle 7: You are open and collaborative

Principle 8: You work with commercial colleagues from the start

Principle 9: You have the skills and expertise that you need to build and use generative AI

Principle 10: You use these principles alongside your organisation’s policies and have the right assurance in place


Rather than serving as a technical manual, this guide offers plain language to outline the necessary steps departments should consider when they are looking to use generative AI. In the year since AI entered the public domain, its potential benefits for government departments remains largely untapped. By breaking down the intricacies of generative AI, its application and limitations, the framework seeks to enhance general understanding of the technology across government departments and in the civil service.

The initial nine principles concentrate on developing the understanding of generative AI. The framework places emphasis on its lawful, ethical and responsible use, with a focus on transparency in AI development, deployment and usage. To further support departments, the framework includes use cases and practical recommendations which can be applied across departments.  

While advocating for its use, the framework warns departments about the current limitations of generative AI. Some of these limitations include the lack of personal experience and emotion in Learnt Language Models (LLMs), real time access to information and data and the short-term memory of LLMs.  The CDDO recommends vigilance and informed decision-making by civil servants, urging them to leverage their expertise to discern when and how generative AI can enhance efficiencies and reduce costs.

Looking ahead, the CDDO would like to use this guidance as a dynamic document, which evolves with our understanding of generative AI.  As its application across government and societies grow, valuable insights will be learnt from user experiences which can further help to shape the framework.

Annie Collings

Annie Collings

Programme Manager, Cyber Security and Central Government, techUK

Annie joined techUK as the Programme Manager for Cyber Security and Central Government in September 2023.

Prior to joining techUK, Annie worked as an Account Manager at PLMR Healthcomms, a specialist healthcare agency providing public affairs support to a wide range of medical technology clients. Annie also spent time as an Intern in an MPs constituency office and as an Intern at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed. 

Annie graduated from Nottingham Trent University, where she was an active member of the lacrosse society. 

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