Britain enters this General Election at a crossroads. This country has much to celebrate when it comes to technology: the UK tech sector is growing at twice the rate of the wider economy, its Government is ranked as the best in the World for digital, and more investment was made in regional tech hubs last year than ever before.
But the UK also faces challenges and opportunities in the coming years that will shape the prospects for the tech sector, and the wider country, for decades to come. From Brexit to the Industrial Strategy, the decisions taken now have the potential to either reinforce or undermine the success story that UK tech has become.
At Atos, our experience in working in key markets across the public and private sectors - from Defence to Financial Services, Health to Manufacturing – has given us a unique perspective on the priorities for Government when it comes to digital transformation.
Over the last eighteen months, our series of Digital Vision opinion papers covering Government, Health, London and Wales have brought together ideas from thought leaders across industry and beyond to tackle some of the key issues in digital transformation.
The recommendations we have highlighted summarise what Government needs to consider in order to support growth and innovation.
· Government should further adopt the benefits of digital devolution and the development of citizen centric services. Government should seek to form a unit in Whitehall via Government Digital Service (GDS) which builds on the concept of the citizen digital ecosystem.
· Government departments should set more agile, innovative digital challenges, with the Ministry of Defence’s Innovation Challenge being used as a blueprint for success.
· Government should evolve procurement models with its strategic suppliers to fully utilise the innovative capabilities of SMEs to harness the best digital innovation.
· Government should continue to focus and progress the Industrial Digitalisation stream supporting the development of the Industrial Strategy, specifically the new disruptive technologies, such as but not exclusive to, artificial intelligence (AI) and additive manufacturing (AM), which have the potential to underpin competitive advantage and foster future economic growth of the UK.
· Government should encourage Digital Devolution by the new Mayors establishing Digital City Strategy (DCS) plans that address transport planning and management, retail and housing development through data modelling and well-being polices underpinned by analytics. As cities also enhance their democratic mandates through the mayoral functional bodies, Government should also seek to receive Digital City Programs (DCPs) that define how digital transformation will deliver citizen centric focused local services and drive efficiency through public bodies with new delivery models.
Citizen Centric Services
· Government should promote a ‘Patient First’ approach to healthcare and establish clear technological challenges to deliver better patient outcomes in the National Health Service, such as a paperless NHS.
· The Government should build upon the Childcare Choices website, and bring together other parental benefits as part of a phased roll out. All payments should then be coordinated via a back-office service to create a single, streamlined, account for parents’ benefits.
· The Government should redirect monies for those who receive either 15 hours or 30 hours of free childcare to NS&I, in addition to the money already directed to them for tax free credits, to bring together a single distributor of money to childcare providers. This will create a streamlined system and remove the burden from local authorities.
Harnessing the power of data
· Government should create a champion at Ministerial level for big data to harness the power of big data and analytics and improve citizens’ lives, predict need and direct precious public resources to where they are needed most. When designing new services, Government must start ‘outside in’ – with the people who will be using the service – understanding changing citizen expectations and their needs.
· Government should seek to increase the utilisation of high performance computing (HPC) and strengthen the link between academic research and industry to encourage new innovation and thinking to accelerate the delivery of innovation into the UK economy.
This post is a guest blog by Atos and does not necessarily represent the views of techUK. For more information about Atos’s public sector work, please click here. To read techUK’s Manifesto, Inventing the Future, please click here.