This morning the Minister for Implementation has published the new Government Technology Innovation Strategy. The strategy does not focus on “sector-specific technologies” but instead on emerging digital technologies being used across the public sector, and looks to establish the right environment so that Government is able to reap the rewards of the UK’s flourishing govtech market.
The strategy is positioned not as a comprehensive list of everything Government will be doing with emerging digital tech in the coming years, but instead as “a framework that departments should reference as they develop their plans for the Spending Review.” It is built on the classic three pillars of People, Process, and Data & Technology.
People – ensuring public servants have the digital skills and data literacy to harness the potential of emerging tech;
Process – improving the mechanisms via which Government can access innovation. This includes a new Dynamic Purchasing System for Innovation Technology (known as Spark), encouraging wider use of challenge-based procurement such as the GovTech Catalyst, and updating Cabinet Office Agile Business Case Guidance;
Data & Technology - Harnessing insight from increased access to valuable data, and, crucially, working to tackle legacy technology across the public sector.
Commenting on the strategy, techUK’s Head of Central Government, Henry Rex said:
“We were delighted to support GDS with industry input as they were developing this strategy, and they have produced a document which contains a lot to cheer the tech supplier community.
In particular, the new Spark DPS is a great idea, with tremendous potential to help government access the innovative tech it needs to transform public service delivery. Tech companies trying to deliver innovation into the public sector will all be excited by this initiative, and we very much look forward to working with the Cabinet Office in the coming weeks to support them in making Spark a success.
If the public sector is fully to realise the benefits of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, government must build its capacity and capability to understand, develop and adopt these technologies in a safe and ethical way. techUK stands ready to support the parts of government that have been identified as particularly benefiting from this technology in the AI for Government Review.
Finally, the strategy is spot on in acknowledging the importance of tackling legacy technology. To be agile enough to make the most of emerging tech, the whole of the public sector must get to trips with legacy systems. While some departments have made impressive progress in this regard, the scale of the challenge remains significant. The promise of detailed cross-government view of the scale of the challenge of legacy technology, and then putting in place plans to tackle it, is a laudable aim, but must be properly resourced. When it comes, hopefully the Spending Review will provide sufficient resources for initiatives like this, as well as more funding for the GovTech Catalyst.”
“It is techUK’s ambition that the UK should become as well known for govtech as it is for fintech. And this strategy should certainly help move us in that direction.”