Reflections on the government’s Digital Transformation Roadmap

The government’s newly-published roadmap for digital and data sets out the ambitious plans to transform digital public services between 2022 and 2025.

Here we have a look at what this roadmap means in practice and some of the ways Made Tech can help you meet its requirements.

How are they going to achieve this?

Firstly, investments in world-class digital technology and talent will be essential.  The roadmap sets out a vision based on tangible commitments and actions that all government departments must deliver.

Previous attempts at digital transformation in government have had mixed success, some of the areas we’ve seen strategies struggle are around:

  • clarity
  • cross-government endorsement
  • clear lines of accountability
  • business ownership

Subsequently, other flagship programmes have been mothballed. So now is the time for something new.

This new roadmap promises to be different and is fully endorsed by the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO). Digital transformation is now seen as a vital facilitator to delivering government policies, like the Net Zero Strategy that is looking to decarbonise the UK economy.

Wait, I thought the government was pretty good at digital transformation?

The government has been pretty good at digital transformation in recent times showing just how adaptive it can be. The pandemic forced the entire country into remote working and more recently the war in Ukraine mobilised government departments to rapidly build the Homes for Ukraine digital service. So when it’s sorely needed, digital transformation is clearly achievable – and quickly.

But, as highlighted in the roadmap, this represents just a fraction of our digital economy. The majority of government services still lack basic digital capabilities, are difficult to use and expensive to deliver.  

Take for instance the abundance of duplicate identity verification services across government all doing practically the same thing, meaning citizens have to prove their identity multiple times. We can also look at the huge amount of outdated and siloed legacy IT systems that have multiplied and spread over time across government departments. 

This isn’t news. Sir David Varney reported these problems way back in 2006 in his influential review, ‘Service transformation’. But there have been many barriers to implementing digital transformation within government, with skills gaps and out of date legacy systems often cited as the main reasons.

Ok, so what sort of investment is needed?

Significant work is needed to fix and align outdated services through technology and data, supported by a sizable digital transformation investment of £8 billion until 2025.

This investment will help drive efficiencies across services and reduce duplication by the rationalisation and streamlining of processes. Additionally a new focus will be put on improving the quality and use of data to inform decision making and policies by taking a more outcome focused approach.

The public will see a stark improvement in the usability and accessibility of fully-digital public services for everyday things like renewing driving licences, applying for benefits and setting up a business.

If all goes to plan, according to the roadmap we could see savings of over £1 billion by eliminating the unnecessary costs of paper-based services and processes. This is much much more than a mere drop in the ocean.

Great – but how can Made Tech help?

To reach these ambitious goals, the roadmap sets 6 cross-government missions:

  1. Transformed public services that achieve the right outcomes
  2. One login for government
  3. Better data to power decision making
  4. Secure, efficient and sustainable technology
  5. Digital skills at scale
  6. A system that unlocks digital transformation

Although this won’t be straightforward, it is achievable. Every organisation will have a different transformation journey but we think every team should be thinking about a few core areas. 

To truly embed digital approaches we need cross functional teams, this could mean for example, policy design working with delivery. Breaking down silos amongst different disciplines is the first step. After all, working as one team sets us up for success. 

Now – data. You can make the best and most effective use of your data by truly understanding how well you’re already using it through a maturity assessment. Next up is creating (or adapting) a data strategy and supporting your teams through capability learning – and don’t worry if this seems daunting, it’s all about taking small steps. The need for these digital skills is on the rise and is a common challenge faced by our friends across the public sector. It’s not only about upskilling teams but fostering a culture of transformation in the workplace.  

Finally, all this should be supported by sustainable technology built to last, that truly supports your team’s needs and the needs of citizens. Systemic challenges across the public sector can be hard when it comes to digital transformation, often filled with barriers and unique challenges. 

As part of our new digital transformation capability we can help you with all of this. Find out a bit more about what this means for you or get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to chat through how we can help your team. 

About the Author

Scott Moore

Senior Business Analyst

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