Transforming Government Services through Digitalisation

In February, the government released the new Digital Transformation Strategy, which sets out to “redefine the relationship between the citizen and the state” by harnessing digital technologies.

The strategy outlines plans to transform the way government departments and services operate through digital technology, improve data use by encouraging the use of shared platforms, develop digital skills and overhaul services for civil servants.

What does this mean for the future of public services?

Successful digital transformation will allow the government to build and deliver services more efficiently and cost effectively. The government aims to achieve this through:

  • developing end-to-end services across all channels
  • employing the right people with the right skills and training
  • transforming the Civil Service with better tools
  • ensuring that government data is managed more effectively
  • creating shared platforms and capabilities across government

Within the strategy the government has set itself a target of 2020 to build and deliver a number of services digitally, including: applying for passports, digital driving licenses and carer’s allowance.

As part of this, the head of a major review into the health service’s use of technology has predicted that the NHS could be paper-free by 2020 following the government’s announcement of a £4.2 billion investment to bring modern techniques into the health service.

Is it achievable?

Developing the necessary skills is fundamental for effective digital transformation. Establishing digital skills throughout departments within government can only be achieved by getting compliance from key users. However, a survey carried out by iGov, on behalf of Opentext, last year found 46% of NHS CIOs are concerned about the target set for the NHS to be paperless by 2020.

Making sure that varying departments and civil servants understand digital is the first hurdle to transforming citizen-facing services using digital. The new Government Digital Service (GDS) Digital Academy will deliver necessary skills training across government, with plans to provide 3000 a year from 2017 with the experience to offer leading digital services.

Virginia Choy, CEO of PretaGov, said: “In order to implement the digital transformation strategy, the government needs to employ the right people, with the right skills, in the right areas. Educating intended key users on the benefits of digitalisation needs to be priority if the government wants to get them on board and drive transformation.”