Guest blog: Working better together

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    Thursday05Sep 2019
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    Guest blog by Adrian Gregory, Atos Senior Executive Vice President and CEO, UK & Ireland Chair, CBI Public Sector Partners Council as part of our #techUKSmarterState...

It is no secret that, in a post-Brexit Britain, a strong partnership between business and government will be vital in supporting firms of all sizes across the nation, as well as in ensuring the consistent delivery of our public services. Public and private sector, working in conjunction with each other, will be key in maintaining the UK’s competitiveness and future prosperity for many years to come.

In partnership with the CBI In mid-2018, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) took steps to enable a more open and constructive dialogue between the UK Government and business by setting up the new Public Sector Partners Council (PSPC), which I have had the privilege to Chair. The Council is a standing committee of the CBI, acting as a steering body for its work relating to the delivery of public services and infrastructure in partnership with industry and exploring avenues for how the public and private sector can work better together.

This work is even more important in a context in which these partnerships are under increased scrutiny, with the ability of the private sector to operate in support of public services and infrastructure being questioned at a time when business investment and innovation are needed more than ever. The value of this work needs to be examined and demonstrated in a transparent way if the UK public sector is to meet the significant challenges it faces, such as rapid technological change and how to harness new, disruptive technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things).

Innovation and social value

The PSPC is wholeheartedly committed to improving trust between government and business in order to support greater investment and innovation in our public services, embedding social value in government contracts and ensuring that the balance of risk between public and private partnerships is appropriate. We have made this case in regular, constructive engagements with the Cabinet Office, which enabled us to introduce concrete examples of how businesses have succeeded in providing excellent value and innovation to the public sector.

The announcement by the Cabinet Office of a new Government Technology Innovation Strategy was a further positive sign of the Government’s commitment to innovation and social value. The PSPC is again collaborating closely with the Cabinet Office and Government Digital Service (GDS) on this work to ensure that the wealth of ideas reaching the CBI from across the business community forms part of this new strategy and ultimately helps consolidate a positive environment for joint work between the public and private sector for years to come.

Creating a pathway to delivery The Council also sees its role in supporting SMEs across the United Kingdom in the public marketplace as vitally important to ensuring a prosperous future for this country, both as direct suppliers to government and as part of larger supply chains, creating a pathway to the delivery of the UK’s 3% GDP target for R&D. The innovative ideas offered by SMEs will allow for greater adoption of digital technology in the public sector, beginning their total transformation journey whilst driving value for money in the delivery of public services.

The private sector makes a significant contribution to improving the everyday lives of citizens by supporting frontline services in the health sector, providing innovative solutions in our transport system, meeting our energy needs and more. By working better together, industry and government can help maintain trust in public sector partnerships with the private sector and make them work better for all concerned.

This article is part of the Digital Vision for Digital Britain opinion paper, which discusses how industry, regulators and policymakers should work together to realise the full potential of the latest leaps forward in technology.

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