A digital Civil Service - a message from Matthew Hancock


"This is a great moment to bring together all that we have done, to celebrate what we have achieved, but also to look forward to the challenges that we have got to rise to. We’ve got a great team now in government pushing the digital agenda. We’ve got growing acceptance in all parts of the public sector that this is mission critical. We increasingly know how to do it and today we’re bringing all those things together to take the next step.

Digital is changing how we deliver every part of government so let’s understand how it works and make sure that everything we do harnesses the best that technology can offer.

The Civil Service itself uses technology all the time and we’ve got to make sure that technology is cutting edge. We need more people who have got digital and technology skills coming into the Civil Service to play a part in the mission that we have to improve the country. But we also need to make sure that everybody in the Civil Service understands the power of digital transformation. So there is a big training exercise to do, there’s a lot of best practice we’ve got to spread and we’ve got to get people in who have seen this first hand elsewhere. We’re quite a long way down the track that is all moving in the right direction and now we need to push it to a new level."


  1. Buster Friendly

    Working digitally? I laugh hollowly at that poor joke. I have been waiting nine years for a software system which was supposed to facilitate working without paper to allow me to use it. Instead, I am still working with paper and pencil, managing eight cabinets full of forms, checking and returning receipts for paperwork, all on a recurring quarterly cycle.

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  2. Darren

    Oh the irony of this video being blocked by my department's firewall.

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  3. Mike

    A great advert for Digital Transformation when attempting to access your report above I get the following message; "The page or file you have requested cannot be loaded due to the current MoD Security Policy. The web server/site is attempting to supply this web page in a manner deemed hazardous to the security of MoD networks".
    What is the point of delivering digital services and expecting the wider civil service to work colaboratively when all I get is beauracratic bull, as described above, which prevents legitimate access to information. Utter frustration is the word here.

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  4. Dawn Grimwood

    Shame I could not read this blog:

    'The page or file you have requested cannot be loaded due to the current MoD Security Policy. The web server/site is attempting to supply this web page in a manner deemed hazardous to the security of MoD networks.'

    Perhaps the personnel running this site could ensure that future blogs are compatible with MODs security policy. As civil servants we are also interested in current initiatives, what is happening in other Government Departments, and making use of best practice. Thank you for your help with this.

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  5. Buster Friendly

    Oh, and I cannot view the video- or any video- via DII. isn't technology great?

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  6. Nanthan

    "Every civil servant needs to understand the power of digital transformation in government ..".not here apparently - "Request Blocked by URL Filter Database " 😉

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  7. Jim

    And naturally, this doesn't work on Home Office IT. Do we get a transcript?

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  8. Baz

    LIke everyone else on here, access is blocked for me as well, still, thank goodness we're all "digitally Committed" eh?

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  9. John

    Blocked by filtering software at the DWP. Digital class I.T. ..what a joke!

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  10. Jayne

    Blocked by DWP internet filtering software too!!

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  11. Nikki

    In HMRC we're starting to see some real progress, but I'd agree - it's inconsistent across the Civil Service and there are many things we still cannot access and do. Now that's not down to individual ability, though yes some training is required for a good percentage, but more so the lack of equipment and software - a frustration for a great number of us.

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  12. Ben

    We too at Acas cannot view Youtube material. An alternative format and/transcript would be helpful and improve Accessibility issues

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  13. Lee

    "A digital civil service"

    Your access to this website has been blocked by the DWP's internet filtering software

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  14. Dave

    Apparently not viewable in HMRC either.

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  15. Matt

    Mr Hancock,

    Leaving aside the frankly laughable issue that I and seemingly many others had to watch this at home because our in-office IT blocked it on security grounds...

    You say that and I quote "...we need more people who've got digital and technology skills coming into the civil service...". Personally I don't think you'll find many who will argue with that given both the current drive towards and benefits of digital working and the ticking time bomb of the civil service age demographic. But, if I may ask...

    How exactly do you propose that the civil service recruits and more importantly once it has recruited retains such skilled individuals given the current climate of job insecurity, divisive and demoralising performance management and continued attacks on the pay, pensions, terms and conditions of civil servants?

    I speak as someone who works in a tech office, an office which currently has vacancies across the board, vacancies that have been left by good people jumping ship to better paid jobs in the private sector and that we cannot even get applicants for never mind fill with the suitably qualified and experienced personnel that we now require in order to maintain our capability to deliver the requirements we are tasked with.

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    • William (MoD)

      Couldn't agree more Matt.
      Plus, in this section we believe that it's going to get a lot worse when us "old-grumpies" have all left, either retired or simply had enough of being treated this way.

      It's funny that the "we're all in this together" and "you need to pay sufficiently well to get the righ calibre of people" seems to only apply to MPs and not Government employees.

      Especially when it's the fault of successive Governments that there is a skills gap in the Civil Service and we need to employ loads of contractors.

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  16. Chris

    I read this having just logged onto a PC running Windows 7.....wonder if we'll be getting Windows 8 soon?

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    • PAW

      Windows 7 - luxury Chris! We're still using good old XP here! And having to pay Microsoft for the privilege.

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  17. Tony

    haha! hmrc computers cant see the content either - a digital civil service that the civil service cant access - priceless!!

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  18. adrienne cetti

    like others I'm blocked from viewing YouTube .....HMRC

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  19. Lorna

    Blocked for NOMS too- Maybe the question should be which departments can actually access it

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    • PAW

      We can play it here at hmcts. But we're not allowed to have the sound on, so we'll have to practice our lip reading.....

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  20. James Stevens

    Can view via Chrome as opposed to directly from the Civl Service New link into IE.
    Repeating normal message Digital is the new Utopia to solve all of our problems, Similar to Privitisation and PFI in years gone by.

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  21. David

    Just to add to the list ... I too would have liked to have seen Matthew's message ... but it was blocked and my transgression recorded! We really are pushing digital transformation to a new level.

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  22. Rico

    I am envious of my colleagues in DWP, MOD, ACAS et Al as, here in HMRC, I don't even get a link to be blocked, just a black box*.

    *Probably the only thing that will survive when it all crashes...

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  23. Dawn

    And in HMRC it's "Movie not loaded ..."

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  24. Bully4U

    Although the video did not work using the "normal" system, we in HMRC now have access to Gxxgxx chrome, by copying the hyperlink address into the latter, I was able to watch the video.

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  25. Dee

    Unfortunately DWP do not allow access to view the video - sorry folks what century is this?

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  26. Mike

    Similar problem in the Home Office I am afraid....

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  27. Alex

    In HMRC we have Firefox as well now, just to complicate matters more.....

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  28. Andrew

    Unable to load the video message. Says it all, really!

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  29. Dan R

    SFA here, I can view it. I'll do transcripts for a small fee!

    In all seriousness, I think we're a good example of an organisation that has the right attitude when it comes to 'digital'.

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  30. Blog team

    Hi all,
    we're sorry some of you are experiencing difficulties with the video. Unfortunately this is down to local IT contracts and security measures. We've added a transcript of the Minister's speech so hopefully those of you who can't see it will can still read what he said.

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  31. PAW

    "The Civil Service itself uses technology all the time and we’ve got to make sure that technology is cutting edge." The problem is that "cutting edge" quickly becomes "old hat". Just putting something in place and thinking "that'll do" won't work. It needs a programme of constant review and incremental upgrading.

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  32. Michael

    It also means having the right technology to do the not tech for tech's sake.

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  33. Peter

    Technology is great if it helps deliver to the public but lets be mindful of replacing a whole workforce with computers!

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  34. Maria

    Peter there is NO way you could replace a whole workforce with THESE computers!

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  35. Steve

    Mr Hancock says:
    ….“Digital is changing how we deliver every part of government so let’s understand how it works and make sure that everything we do harnesses the best that technology can offer…”
    So, let’s ‘harness’ some modern technology Mr Hancock, please give the go ahead to update our technology….will you do that??

    The digital service you speak of cannot run on ‘hot air’ alone, it requires real time investment, up to date technology, software and more importantly, competent and capable IT contractors to run our systems – things that the government are unwilling to provide.
    In the blog ‘Why Formula 1 could drive success in the Civil Service (Professor Sir Mark Walport, 21 January 2016) about the use of IT technology driving success in the private sector, he says:
    …“We still have a way to go until this becomes the default approach across the whole of government…” (Which loosely translated, basically means that for dept’s outside the London conurbation, it will never happen!)
    So your vision of a civil service wide digital revolution seems to be at odds with others in your team whose visions are more down to earth and realistic.
    My own vision (based on the last 24 years of experience) is that in ten, twenty years’ time, some dept.’s will probably only just be receiving Windows 7 or 8!

    Ok - so the team is in place! - the whistle has already gone several years ago on the subject of IT - but the government team still haven’t come out of the tunnel yet!
    My question to you is when does your team start playing for real?
    And unless you are prepared to follow your own government’s ‘DO IT‘ programme and actually ‘do it’, your words here are pointless and uninspiring - you are merely preaching from the same hymn book as others before you.
    Simply put Mr Hancock….we have heard it all before!

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