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Wales to get a chief digital officer

22/04/15

Common platforms and standards framework also feature in Welsh Government digital strategy

The Welsh Government is to appoint a chief digital officer to lead its digital service transformation, as part of its newly published Digital First strategy.

Welsh flagsIt says the appointee will support the Digital Public Services Working Group and play a leading role in transformation across the Welsh public sector. The role will partly involve pulling together groups from the private, third and academic sectors to help the government develop more joined up services.

The move follows the Cabinet Office appointment of Connall Bullock as chief digital officer, and reflects the trend in which the role is challenging that of chief information officer for primacy in many large enterprises. While there is a debate about the interpretation of the new role, which is still evolving, it is often regarded as crucial in converting operations to digital processes. A chief information officer is more specifically responsible for information flows and IT systems.

Another feature is the use of common platforms for online services, along with the development of a common and open standards framework. This will include the identification of a suite of standards for functions such as in agile and responsive design, architecture data and interoperability, and a repository of open solutions for re-use.

Key features

Other key elements of the strategy include:

  • identifying quick win projects to improve services and find efficiency savings;
  • using the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation network service as the default for accessing wide area network services in Wales;
  • using the new .cymru and .wales domain names as default in the public sector;
  • providing access to bilingual tools in the workplace to promote the Welsh language;
  • taking a 'digital first' approach in the design and development of services;
  • encouraging all public service organisations to consider their existing and planned service provision to determine which should be delivered online.

The document acknowledges that the government has its work cut out in winning people over to online services. It cites figures from Ofcom that just 9% of the Welsh public prefer online to traditional public services, and says it wants to see a major increase in the number and needs to make online more compelling to achieve it.

It also says the Welsh public sector is estimated to spend about £400 million per year on ICT, and that the National Procurement Service for Wales is developing a plan to make procurement more effective. This is likely to involve "buying it once" for the public sector and an increased use of cloud computing.

Expectations

Julie James, Wales' deputy minister for skills and technology, said: "There is a growing trend of consumer expectation that services, whether they are delivered by the public or private sector, should be available at any time, anywhere and accessible digitally through an increasing range of devices.

"There are numerous examples of digital service delivery developing through the efforts of multiple organisations across the public sector in Wales."

 

Picture from National Assembly for Wales, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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