The Cabinet Office is working on the development of a digital tool to help civil servants manage their emails more effectively.
It has been prompted by the view that many important emails can be difficult to find, which creates the risk of damaging productivity and undermining an organisation’s reputation.
The Cabinet Office has begun to look for a developer to build a digital tool or service over four months, beginning by the end of September, to help civil servants manage their inboxes more effectively and keep linked records of government business.
The procurement notice highlights the need to help users find and access emails, both sent and received, relevant to a task and to help them comply with the law. In addition, knowledge and information managers have to be able to transfer emails to archives.
The product is likely to need some level of accreditation, depending on its architecture, and to comply with the Government’s ‘cloud first’ policy, under which cloud solutions should be considered before alternatives. The notice makes the point that most civil servants now use cloud based email tools on multiple devices.
The Cabinet Office is keen to avoid it involving any extra steps of software or log-in, with more of an early focus on tagging and organising emails, and says it wants to be agnostic about the technology involved.
The Government’s document on the Better Information for Better Government programme points out that email has posed a particular challenge for departments, as it can need to be saved, filed or deleted as part of daily business, and there is no single technology tool to provide a solution.
For better management of digital information in general it emphasises the need to change culture and working practices, but the project points to an effort to find a technology solution to support this.