Minister Ed Vaizey says he wants ideas from the public and industry on how to take ‘digital revolution’ to the next stage – and Matt Hancock talks of a ‘smartphone state’
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) has issued a public call for ideas to contribute to a new UK Digital Strategy.
The strategy is intended to set the agenda for Parliament on digital issues over the next five years, with an emphasis on its contribution to the economy, but including a significant element focused on using technologies in public services.
Vaizey’s announcement said the government wants the UK to be synonymous with digital, leading to big changes in day-to-day life, the economy and government.
He said: “We need to work hard to make sure we continue to take advantage of the benefits digital transformation has to offer.
“Come 2020, undoubtedly the UK landscape will have changed to be firmly in the digital age. But how do you want to shape that? Let’s show the rest of the world how it’s done.”
Among the features to be flagged up in the announcement are the potential for increasing the use of online courses in education, and increasing the digitisation of the NHS.
Matthew Hancock, the Cabinet Office minister in charge of strategy on digital public services, provided his support, saying the government will make more investments in technology to simplify service delivery.
“The potential for transformation driven by digital is vast, and we are reforming public services to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies, not just now but including innovations to come,” he said. “We will continually find new opportunities to deliver better public services and to keep the UK contributing as a global digital leader. “
In a blogpost providing details of the plan, Vaizey says that Hancock has a plan to take the digital transformation of government further in the creation of a “smartphone state”.
He also says it is estimated that over the next 20 years 90% of all jobs will require some level of digital skills. This will require ensuring they are a key part of the education system, and helping people to update skills through their working lives.
The previous Government Digital Strategy was published in 2013, and was aimed at embedding the 'digital by default' strategy, by which online services would be improved to the point at which people choose to use them.
It has been the foundation for much of the work of the Government Digital Service, including completing the move of central government websites to gov.uk and the building of common technology platforms.
Vaizey has indicated the new exercise has a broader remit into supporting economic development, although it leaves open the door for a specific strategy on public services.
The call for ideas for the new strategy is open until 19 January, with people to send their contributions to [email protected].