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Government Technology: Infrastructure, Enablement & Delivery
Until relatively recently, government services were conspicuous by their failure to live up to the expectations and standards of a modern, internet-savvy digital age in which 82% of the UK population is online. The launch of GOV.UK, the single website for public services and government, in October 2012 signalled a sea-change in citizens’ online engagement with the public sector, and since then the site has received more than a billion visits.
The Digital Strategy, published in December 2013, was a declaration of intent stating government’s commitment to make public services ‘digital by default’ and thereby release estimated savings of more than £1.7 billion per year. At the core of this strategy are the Government Service Design Manual and the Digital by Default Service Standard, which aim to make digital services so accessible and straightforward that people prefer to use them over the alternatives – phone, post and in person. In addition, the Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud facilitate the commissioning and procurement of effective cloud-based services.
As an April 2014 report from Deloitte highlighted, there is plenty of appetite among the populace for more online interaction with the public sector. In the transition to digital services and in the continuous process of delivering and updating these services, putting the needs of users first is key – this means understanding who your users are and what they want, as well as incorporating feedback to direct improvements. To this end, a shift has been encouraged away from long and costly procurement procedures in which the user has no sight of the service until it goes live, towards building and testing in small chunks and ‘iterating wildly’.
At Government Technology: Infrastructure, Enablement & Delivery, we will explore the implications of the Digital Strategy and consider opportunities for the relevant teams and service managers to put the design manual into practice, in tandem with updated procurement procedures and tools such as the Digital Marketplace, in order to make digital services a compelling and secure first choice for UK citizens.
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