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Government publishes new digital and data strategy

Whitehall street sign
Image source: Steward

The UK Government has set out six missions and identified 75 services for transformation in a new roadmap for digital services up to 2025.

It has also forecast savings of over £1 billion by eliminating unnecessary costs of paper based services, saying £101 million of this will come through better procurement, reducing attrition rates of skilled staff and reducing the reliance on consultants.

Cabinet Office Minister Heather Wheeler unveiled the strategy, saying: “This new strategy will put us in lockstep with the private sector, transforming the delivery of key services that people rely on so that they are simpler and faster to use while also cutting costs.”

First of the missions will be to transform public services to achieve the right outcomes, with at least 50 of the 75 identified to reach a ‘great’ standard of consistent performance by 2025. This will involve embedding digital approaches and cross-functional teams into policy design and delivery to meet key priorities.

Second is the development of the One Log-in service, with all central government departments to confirm an adoption strategy and roadmap by April 2023 and begin onboarding their services by 2025.

Third is the better use of data in decision making, with departments to make all critical data assets available for use across government through trusted application programme interfaces and platforms such as GDX and IDS.

It also involves providing access to a data marketplace, development of a single ownership model for critical data assets and ensuring that half of high priority data quality issues are resolved within the period defined by a cross-government framework.

Secure and sustainable

Fourth is on efficient, secure and sustainable technology, with all departments to promote a ‘buy once, use many times’ approach, the annual resilience testing of nationally important systems, and an identification of ‘red rated’ legacy systems.

In addition, all new services shall comply with a common approach to ‘secure by design’, the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) will work with departments on a mobile app strategy for government services, there will be an effort to capture opportunities from emerging technologies, and all department will increase sustainability throughout the lifecycle of their technology and services.

The fifth mission covers building digital skills at scale, through measures such as strengthening departments’ offer to existing and prospective talent by aligning role definitions to the digital, data and technology (DDaT) capability framework, and embedding a recruitment standard that reduces the average time to hire to 30 days.

Other steps include upskilling over 90%of senior civil servants on digital and data essentials, DDaT training at least once a year for over 90% of professionals in the field, and all departments to set an objective to reduce DDaT vacancies to under 10% of the relevant headcount. In addition, they will have to develop a roadmap for diversity in the DDaT workforce.

Sixth is to build a system that unlocks digital transformation, under which CDDO will work with HM Treasury and other bodies to address systemic barriers in issues such as financial processes, business cases and tracking challenges. Also, departments will have to meet a definition of ‘good’ for product-centric organisational structures and agile ways of working.

Leadership and governance

Each mission will be led by a sponsor at permanent secretary level and governed through a steering group of senior civil servants, including chief digital information officers, chief technology officers and chief data officers.

The 75 services are spread across a number of central government departments.

Paul Willmott, chair of the CDDO, said: “This strategy represents a new era of cross-governmental collaboration on digital transformation and puts the public's experience at the heart of online services.

"Investing in the Civil Service workforce through high quality training will enable government to improve its decision-making, while driving up digital standards and adoption across the board.”


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