In 2017 the Technology Innovation in Government Survey was commissioned by GDS, it sought to review technology innovation across government, thus becoming the precursor to today’s Innovation Strategy that was launched earlier this year. Public Technology spoke to the Government Digital Service’s Deputy Director of Innovation Sue Bateman to hear her thoughts on whether this strategy will have a long-term effect.
The innovation strategy has three main components: people, process & data and technology. Sue told Public Technology that it’s important to continue to build on the specialist skills that will be “key to the design and delivery of public services” and help people “understand the potential of emerging technology” and in turn the government can really harness digital, starting with the workforce.
As part of the innovation strategy Spark, a dynamic purchasing system that has been described as an “innovation marketplace” was launched. Suppliers can be added over three years and according to Public Technology a total of 20 firms have been accredited so far. This is the process section of the strategy and Sue stated that it is “focused on supporting viable procurement” so the most can be made from innovative technologies and services being developed by suppliers.
Data and technology is the last of the three areas the strategy aims to cover, being one of the first governments to really embrace digital the UK has a lot of legacy and so the strategy “includes a pledge to update the standards and guidance that apply to the government’s use of tech” and under this will be standards that best support data sharing. Sue says that this is “an area that will probably be part of the next spending review” because there needs to be an overall review of legacy so GDS have a clearer idea on what to invest in.
Finishing the interview Sue stated, “This is a natural progression from what we've been doing from day one” and the innovation strategy will only move things along at a faster pace, enabling a marketplace and a government fit for digital, for procurement and for innovation.
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