Today, the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced the launch of the Government Transformation Strategy 2017 to 2020. This is a vital step in creating a digital government that is responsive to the needs of citizens and meets their expectations of modern public services.
The strategy sets out how a digitally enabled government will transform the way we work, how we organise ourselves and how we interact with the citizens we serve.
We’ve already demonstrated the potential for the digital transformation of public services through the work carried out under the 2012 strategy. We’ve redesigned and rebuilt some of the most used services, including Register to vote, View driving licence and Carer’s Allowance. For the first time, digital professions have been established across the public sector, increasing our capability in this crucial area. And strong foundations have been laid for departments to share digital platforms, components, code and best practice for building user-focused services.
The cross-departmental collaboration behind the 2017-2020 strategy is the start of what we hope will be a new way of working. 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.
To achieve this we have arranged our strategy into five main themes. We will focus on:
- business transformation: continuing to design, develop and deliver world-class digital services and a government that operates in a modern and efficient way, from front-end service delivery to back-office administration
- skills and capability: developing the right skills and culture among our people and leaders, and bringing together policy and delivery to design services that are focused on outcomes for citizens, and provided in an iterative environment, learning from experience and evidence
- enabling the Civil Service to deliver: providing better tools and processes to make it easier for public servants to work effectively, including up-to-date workplace IT and digital tools, improved human resources processes, and common technology across the public sector
- data: making better use of data – not just for transparency, but for collaboration across government that will allow us to build joined-up services
- shared platforms: creating, operating, iterating and embedding good use of shared platforms for government services and reusable business capabilities to speed up transformation – we will also be accelerating the development of GOV.UK Verify, the online service that enables users to prove their identity and access government services securely, working towards 25 million users by 2020
This is an ambitious agenda. Collaboration across government will not always be simple. However, we’re confident that the goals of digital transformation are shared across government. The role of the Government Digital Service (GDS) will be to support, enable and assure departments in meeting these goals.
Transformation is a continuous process. We will always be looking to improve, because the expectations of citizens and the demands on services will always be shifting. But in government there is a clear need to measure progress and be accountable for the work we’re doing. And we need to show that meaningful changes are being made that better equip us to respond to the challenges we face.
For this reason, we’ve set ourselves some milestones. The plans detailed in the strategy are set to be complete by 2020. But we know 2020 is not the finish line. The strategy will lay a foundation for the digital government of the future: a government that is adaptable and flexible enough to keep pace with changes in society and technology. We’re already planning for the things we’ll do beyond 2020, and we’ll keep you updated as we go.
In the next few months, the dialogue around the strategy will continue on the GDS Roadshow as we travel around the country to hear what you, the civil servants who will be making the transformation a reality, have to say.