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Government’s Evaluation Task Force provides new support for efficiency projects

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Four projects using digital technology and data to produce efficiencies in public services are to receive support from the Government’s Evaluation Accelerator Fund.

The Evaluation Task Force, a joint unit of the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, said the projects could provide up to £1 billion in savings.

One will involve the Cabinet Office evaluating the effect of service improvements such as replacing physical signatures with e-signatures, increasing the use of electronic notifications rather than paper, wider use of phone bots and automating more processes.

The project has received £500,000 with the aim of unlocking savings by reducing the use of paper and demand on customer service teams.

Another £450,000 has been awarded to the Department for Transport to explore how mobile network operator (MNO) data can be used to support initiatives to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

The data – including geographical spread, charging locations and distances travelled – could be used to support the location of vehicle charging infrastructure where it is most needed; and to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of how the vehicles are used across the country.

Drugs and wastewater

A third project, led by the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Services, has been awarded £933,000 to tackle drug misuse in prisons by monitoring wastewater. Following fieldwork a trial is due to begin later this year.

The fourth project follows from an award of £1.7 million last year to the College of Policing to test new ways of preventing violence against women and girls through the use of rapid video response. This has been subject to a trial by Kent Police and other forces will now begin testing different uses of the same technology.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said: “This is a government with innovation at its core and it’s vital that we channel that in the right way, ensuring decisions made by the government are data-driven.

“This funding will help teams drive innovation across government, creating the tools and data departments need to become more efficient and drive value for money. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on public services.”

The awards follow the provision of £12.2 million for 16 projects in the first round of funding last year.

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