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Civil Service

How we’re transforming government together

Head shot of Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation
Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation

A year ago we published the Government Transformation Strategy. This sets the vision of what a transformed government should look like. It sets out a vision of a government that works better for everyone. One that saves citizens’ time and money and improves their everyday lives.

Turning this ambition into a reality requires a transformational change. It means transforming the way civil servants work, transforming the way that we use technology and innovation and, ultimately, transforming the way we serve our citizens.

Twelve months on from its publication, this is how government is transforming.

Transforming the way we serve citizens

1 year transformation strategy anniversary graphic

Citizens don’t often engage with government because they want to, they do so because they have to. That means we need to do everything we can to make those interactions simpler, safer and faster.

As government works to create user-focused services, more and more services are using common platforms like payments platform GOV.UK Pay and notifications platform GOV.UK Notify. These common platforms are a catalyst for transformation.

And an important part of transformation is finding a simple way for people to prove that they are who they say they are. GOV.UK Verify is revolutionising citizens’ access to services that would otherwise require postal or face-to-face verification.

These common platforms are making services better for users. For example, you will soon be able to sign a mortgage deed online thanks to Land Registry’s ‘Sign Your Mortgage Deed’ service, which uses GOV.UK Verify.

Motorists can now get reminders of when their MOT is about to expire, thanks to the new MOT reminder service from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. So far, more than 500,000 people have signed up for alerts.

And on a smaller, but no less important scale, the Veterans Welfare Service (VWS), a branch of the Ministry of Defence, uses GOV.UK Notify to let veterans know when they have an appointment for a home visit. By using GOV.UK Notify, VWS can now send email or SMS reminders rather than intrusive phone calls. And they now spend 4 to 5 minutes, rather than 4 to 5 hours, sending appointment reminders.

This transformation work is also helping the country and its businesses forge links internationally. The Department for International Trade’s services on, such as ‘Exporting is great', 'Find a buyer' and 'Find a supplier', and 'Selling online overseas', are extending the global reach of UK businesses. These services were designed, developed and delivered very quickly, thanks to the department’s use of components such as GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Platform as a Service.

This work aligns with DFID’s Digital Strategy 2018 to 2020, which sets out a vision and approach for doing development in a digital world. Its aim is to establish DFID as a global leader in digital technology and development, in order to have a bigger, faster and more cost-effective impact on the lives of poor people.

So far, more than 175 services across government are using one of the common platforms built by GDS. Almost 800,000 payments have been made through GOV.UK Pay, with a total value of £37.2 million. And more than 20.3 million notifications have been sent through GOV.UK Notify.

Transforming the way civil servants work

Transformation is not just about processes and systems though. Transformation is about people, it’s about how people work and what they do. This is why we need to work hard to support everyone across the Civil Service to have the right skills and capabilities for the future.

The GDS Academy, which has locations around the country, is training more than 3,000 civil servants a year in digital skills. The academy is helping to build the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Profession, which has more than 17,000 people working in it across government.

The DDaT jobs framework for government, which lays out 37 common job roles across departments, provides a structure for the way DDaT professionals work. It gives consistency in things like job title and salary.

And we also need to make sure that civil servants have the right tools to do their jobs. This means building things like GovWifi, a single wifi login for all of government, which has had more than 3.5 million transactions since it launched last year.

And the Digital Marketplace, operated by GDS and the Crown Commercial Service, is transforming the way government buys technology and digital services, opening it up to Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) suppliers. A total of £3.2 billion has been spent through the Digital Marketplace in just under 6 years. Of that total, 48% is spent with SMEs – that’s £1.43 of every £3.

Transforming our approach to innovation and technology

Knowing how modern technologies can be deployed in a manner that addresses government policy requires collaboration between the public and private sectors. When government is using technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and robotic automation, we need to look at the user need and the cost of building and maintaining the technology.

To support this, we’re running the new GovTech Catalyst scheme, which is housed in GDS. This is a £20 million fund to help technology firms deliver innovative fixes to public sector challenges.

This could include reducing traffic jams, freeing up teachers’ time and improving the experience of patients visiting their GP. This scheme will help government take advantage of cutting-edge technologies and will ensure that these technologies are used at the right time and in the right way.

Delivering transformation and supporting EU Exit

The Government Transformation Strategy set out a bold vision. Working across government, we are delivering this vision.

The vote to leave the European Union has heightened the need to be responsive and to be able to adapt to a changing environment. It means our transformation work is especially relevant.

Our work to build skills and capability will mean that we can have the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles as government delivers EU Exit. Our work to bring in innovative technologies means that we will be able to develop cutting-edge solutions to the challenges that EU Exit brings.

And our work to transform the way we serve citizens means that we will be able to produce 21st-century solutions that make a real difference to the lives of the people we serve.

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