The Government’s UK Digital Strategy sets out the vision for developing a world-leading digital economy and key to this is delivering services that meet the needs of all citizens.
The Digital Strategy recognises the key role digital technology can play to deliver more efficient and tailored local public services as well as generating economic growth by creating opportunities for innovative local service providers but little mention of actual local Government in it.
With devolution seeing more services being delivered locally the smarter use of tech in our regions and cities is critical to delivering services that are integrated and accessible for all citizens. There was no mention of digital devolution and the opportunities that present bar reference to supporting and growing tech clusters. Growing the regional tech economy is crucial in developing the tech eco system and enabling devolution to flourish by creating city regions that attract and retain the best talent and skills. techUK is committed to working with the new Mayors to capitalise on the digital revolution happening locally. techUK will be producing a Digital Devolution Guide for the newly elected Mayors to illustrate practically how digital can form the bedrock of their plans to drive regional growth and breakdown barriers to service delivery.
Rightly so, the Strategy recognises that one of the most important and often challenging services of delivering transformation in identity assurance, The Government has committed to continue a series of pilots for local authorities during 2017 to understand the user needs and the commercial and legal basis for allowing people to use their GOV.UK Verify accounts to access services. techUK jointly worked with Government Digital Service last year on supplier discovery workshop on the extension of GOV.UK Verify to local public services and looks forward to continuing to do so as part of a more unified approach to public service transformation. We will be looking to see how the government will also roll-out the new GOV.UK Notify and Gov.UK Pay to local Government also. In a recent blog from GDS, it outlines its ambition to start offering Notify to local government by late 2017 which is welcome but the right pricing model must be in place.
Unlocking the Value of Data for Local Government
In addition the Strategy acknowledges the transformative role data plays in developing more integrated and reactive local services. The Government will also:
• encourage local authorities to release more of the data that they hold to drive local innovation and economic growth
• encourage collaborative efforts by sector-organisations to develop, and implement, common digital services and standards
• develop their digital platforms so that they can be of more use for local public services, for example, through piloting the use of GOV.UK Verify in local government, providing support for procurement of digital services and skills through the Digital Marketplace
techUK welcomes the local Government data announcements and key to realising this ambition is early and meaningful engagement with both local Government and tech industry to create the environment that enables greater value to be derived from data. The possibilities are endless when it comes to local government unlocking, exploring and harnessing the insights and knowledge contained within data more effectively and as such we will be holding a local Government roundtable on 25 April to explore what is needed or local government to become truly data-driven.