The United Kingdom’s three-year digital strategy for improving online government services is now back on track. The initiative is expected to save the country up to £1 billion.
The digital strategy was initially slated for the fall of 2020 and rescheduled to 2021 due to the severity of the pandemic in the country. It is divided into six key missions; namely the transformation of public services, improved use of gathered data, a general improvement of individual digital skills among members of the civil service, a more efficient and sustainable use of technology, the development of a cross-government digital identification platform, as well as a system that can unlock the potential of digital transformation.
Developed by the UK government’s Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), the implementation of the roadmap is expected to run for three years. It will cover 75 top public services to improve at least two-thirds of them to a higher standard based on a more consistent service performance measure.
A Real Policy for Real People
For the minister of digital government Heather Wheeler, currently a parliamentary undersecretary in the UK Cabinet, the roadmap allows the government to craft and deliver a digital policy that will have a good and lasting impact on the daily lives of the country’s citizens.
As she puts it, today’s people get a relatively easy and seamless experience in the digital transactions they do every day, like paying for groceries or online banking. Wheeler opines that the roadmap will make government services just as efficient and much less stressful than they currently are.
However, CDDO executive chair Paul Wilmott warns that implementing the strategy entails a massive change that must occur throughout all government agencies. For him, the strategy is the harbinger of a new era of collaborative digital transformation.
In other words, it is a change that is part of a wider digital and data agenda that should be upheld by tangible commitments throughout the entire British government.
It should be noted at this point that the aforementioned projected savings of over £1 billion will result from improved service delivery and the replacement of outdated IT systems. Indeed, adopting similar “build once, use many times” policies across the government is seen to reduce the amount spent by these agencies and will further support a more streamlined headcount for the country’s civil service sector.