With a new Government installed techUK’s Head of Public Sector outlines the key asks and considerations from Central and Local Government to deliver the promise of the ‘Smarter State’
The last decade has seen an increased understanding within Government of the importance of driving digital transformation to protect and improve our public services amid rising public sector debt and demands on usage. As outlined in techUK’s Manifesto: Inventing the Future, the only way to protect front-end service delivery is by re-inventing our public services through radically improving efficiency and outcomes. As such, the new Government must fully embrace the transformational power of digital technology to place tech at the heart public service delivery.
In this context, it was encouraging to see the Conservative manifesto declare that Government should be at the ‘forefront of using digital technology’ to deliver better public services that are ‘digital by default’. Reflecting on the commitments of the Conservative Manifesto, below are three of the key asks from the tech industry to the new Government to deliver the promise of the ‘Smarter State’.
Procuring for Innovation and Growth
The Government should re-affirm its manifesto commitment for 33 per cent of Central Government purchasing to come from SMEs by the end of the Parliament. This will enable it to use its buying power to encourage the development of innovative technology and promote the involvement of SMEs.
To achieve the above, changes must be made to develop simple and accessible procurement processes – building on the successes of the Digital Marketplace, and G-Cloud in particular, to expand the number of SME suppliers public services use. As a priority, the Government should expand the use of the Digital Marketplace by doubling the number of non-Whitehall parts of the public sector using the system in procurement processes.
Unlocking the Next Wave of Digital Transformation
The Conservative manifesto pledges to use common platforms across government and the wider public sector - highlighting a single, common and safe verification method to all parts of Government as key to the delivery of better public services. The manifesto committed to roll out Verify on all Government online services by 2020, with scope to make this platform more widely available to verify identity across non-government services such as banking.
This commitment echoes techUK’s call to roll out Verify in our own manifesto and we are very supportive of this ambition. A single, trusted log in platform across all Government services is critical for delivering a Government which is ‘digital by default’ and is a key piece of the digital transformation jigsaw. The Government must prioritise refreshing Verify, with a clearly defined strategy for its roll-out across Central and Local Government, and outline how it will interact with Government Gateway.
Adopt a Digital First Mind-set to Digital Devolution
The Conservatives have committed to provide clarity on what devolution means for different administrations so all authorities operate in a common framework. techUK has created a Digital Devolution: Guide for Mayors which encourages Mayors to embrace digital transformation by setting out what it can do for their administrations. The key messages from the guide are that Local Government should be supported to understand digital best practice, and ‘digital’ must be a core part of future devolution deals. This should include the introduction of a “Digital Devolution Dividend”, a £350 million fund to match any Metro Mayor investment in a Chief Digital Officer and city-region digital strategies.
There are many more findings and recommendations in the techUK manifesto. Please do get in contact to find out more!