Leidos UK: How technology innovation is driving positive change for government
Technology innovation continues to drive positive change for government. From the shift towards online responses for the 2021 Census to the rapid response of PPE supplies for the NHS, technology is the enabler of significant momentum in efficient government. What makes the technology work is effective collaboration and shared learnings across industry and communities.
Large-scale national and regional crises occur, however much governments might wish that they wouldn’t. The pandemic has taught us that people and organisations are more adaptable than we have given them credit for in the past and for the most part, there is now a visible appetite for transformation. Government has shown remarkable agility in response to COVID quickly adapting how it works and how they interact with the public, moving their services online, delivering online platforms in just weeks or months that may otherwise have taken years to design and deliver. The necessity to continue to deliver vital services showed just what is achievable.
When lockdown first happened, some departments were really stretched. There was a need for different government agencies and departments to work together to achieve complex and challenging objectives. For instance, the military’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic was notable. On this occasion, it did more than volunteer its manpower and equipment: critically, it also volunteered its supply chains, procurement personnel, and logisticians. Within days, the Defence Fulfilment Centre, based at MOD Donnington, was pressed into service—despatching ventilators to NHS hospitals, receiving and holding many more ventilators in inventory to be deployed as required, and distributing critical medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and humidifiers to NHS trusts.
The way that the partners mobilised operations, collaboratively, was phenomenal. We must learn from this experience and become more flexible, building in resilient but adaptable systems and processes as an integral part of our business operations. A recent development that gives insight into the government’s thinking in this area is the proposed creation of the Advanced Research and Innovation Agency that will play a critical role in fostering an ecosystem where research and innovation are supported appropriately.
This intersection between government, business, and technology is a reality of the present day and of the future. All three cannot and should not operate independently of each other, and it is clear that a holistic approach across government is of fundamental importance to ensure that the fruits of research and development are leveraged in policy so that the UK maintains a coherent response to challenges.
For this to happen the government must continue to put effective collaboration at the top of its priorities. The public sector is in a strong position to build on the digital momentum created by COVID to drive improvements and efficiencies in public services. If 2020/21 showed us the art of the possible, let’s hope that the rest of the decade inspires us to go further, making genuine improvements to society for generations to come.
This article was written by Graham Emmons VP and Managing Director, Civil Division, Leidos UK and Europe. Learn more about this author here.
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