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UK government wants nine out of 10 using online public services by 2020

Charlotte Jee | Dec. 11, 2014
Digital initiatives at the core of plans to achieve savings of US$47 billion during next Parliament.

The government has said it wants 90 percent of the online public to be using digital public services by 2020.

It hopes to move beyond just online services to a "government as a platform" model as part of plans to cut up to £30 billion off the government budget during the next Parliament, according to a joint Cabinet Office and HM Treasury document.

The Government Digital Service will lead work to provide a series of cross-departmental digital platforms by 2020 like messaging and appointments booking, it said. The platform approach will also extend to internal, back-end services like postcode lookups and location data.

For example the government plans to build a common payments platform, accessible from all devices, by 2016 so all departments can process payments in a secure and consistent way.

The platform approach is exemplified by the current GOV.UK Verify scheme to provide identity assurance for online government services, according to the document.

Whitehall wants to make it easier to track government applications, renewals and requests such as passport renewals, much as you would track a parcel delivery online.

The government also plans to appoint a government chief data officer tasked with defining data standards for the public sector and work to improve digital skills in the civil service more generally.

The document promises to "accelerate the move of existing IT services into the cloud, using G-Cloud suppliers and Crown Hosting Service".

The Cabinet Office hopes the Crown Hosting Service will eventually cover the majority of central government's datacentre hosting needs. The Cabinet Office went out to tender for the new service, which is worth up to £700 million, in July. The government is yet to announce who has won the contract.

The government is closely eyeing up ICT contracts worth £4 billion per year due to expire in the next Parliament as a potential source of substantial savings.

It hopes a "modern, internet-based approach can more than halve the cost of providing technology to civil servants".

The document does not include figures detailing how much it expects the individual proposals will save, but says the government aims to save £10 billion for 2017/18 and £15-£20 billion for 2019/20.

 

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