An article in Global Government Computing 10th Feb 2017
The UK government has unveiled its transformation strategy, aimed at harnessing digital technology to change the way it does business.
The strategy, released yesterday, aims to build on the government’s 2012 Digital Strategy, which has focused on improving citizen experience of accessing online services.
The new transformation strategy will focus on how digital technology can improve and redesign government processes to improve efficiency and deliver policy more effectively.
Kevin Cunnington, director general of the Government Digital Service, said in a blog post about the strategy: “We know that the digital transformation needs to be embedded deeper than ever before.
“Making sure that data can flow easily between departments, allowing us to build joined-up services that run seamlessly across government, has a major part to play in this.
“This will be how we start to reshape the relationship between citizen and state, putting power into the hands of the citizen.”
The strategy aims to expand the scope of service transformation to cover the internal workings of departments as well as the services they offer to users.
It said: “Many departments have started to transform how they deliver services.
“This has improved citizens’ experience of a significant number of services, but in many cases it has not changed the way government organisations operate to deliver them.
“It has meant that organisations without public-facing services have not benefitted from the same degree of focus on digital transformation.”
The document also focuses on bringing policy development and service design closer together, and outlines the goal of ensuring government can run projects across departmental boundaries.
There is also a recognition that open data can help innovation and increase transparency, with the creation of a new data advisory board and the appointment of a new chief data officer.
By 2020, the government hopes to have 25 million users of its GOV.UK Verify service, which aims to make citizen identification easier when they use government services.
It also outlines the aim of delivering 90% of passport applications online by the end of 2020.
In addition, a new Government Digital Service digital academy will train 3,000 civil servants each year.
Julian David, chief executive of IT industry body techUK, said: “The imperative to change isn’t just about technologies, it’s about the people that deliver them and use them. That’s why it’s encouraging to see such a determined focus on equipping civil servants with the leadership, skills and support they need for the challenge ahead.”
Phil Gibson, chair of public sector technology body Innopsis, said that the strategy failed to provide solutions to improving communication between public sector bodies.
He said: “Cabinet Office needs to recognise the fact is that there is currently no leadership for a cohesive technology-led programme that addresses the desperate need for better, safer information between the agencies. That would serve the people, and our budget deficit, more effectively than a smart way to apply for a passport.”